Metro Manila mayors seek stricter protocols amid Delta variant threat


Posted at Jul 23 2021 09:58 AM | Updated as of Jul 23 2021 10:07 AM

Metro Manila mayors seek stricter protocols amid Delta variant threat 1
People queue outside the Ospital ng Maynila as City of Manila opened 7 hospitals for COVID-19 vaccination on Monday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Local chief executives of the capital region has recommended stricter protocols to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) amid the threat of the more contagious Delta variant, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos said Friday.

“Right now, it’s very fluid. Later probably (spokesman) Harry (Roque) will tell you about the new quarantine classification of Metro Manila. Just wait for the classification for Metro Manila it will be announced by Sec. Harry. Our recommendation is of course, for stricter protocols right now,” Abalos said.

In an interview on ANC’s Rundown, Abalos said they initially discussed in a meeting on Thursday the policy allowing 5 years old to go to open parks.

“We’ve discussed first about the 5 years old but we were surprised to know about new developments about these new Delta variants,” he said.

The Department of Health late Thursday confirmed local transmission of the Delta variant. The DOH earlier reported 12 new local cases of the Delta variant, which was first detected in India. With the new local cases, this brings the total cases of the strain in the Philippines to 47.

“Of course, with this there would be more stricter protocols in place,” Abalos said.

Abalos said Metro Manila has prepared for a possible surge in COVID cases due to the Delta variant. He said there are 5,775 contact tracers and testing kits and isolation centers have been prepared as well.

“Our isolation centers are about 83, 46 of which are being used right now in different LGUs. Isolation centers are schools and quarantine facilities, and 37 emergency, they’re just there, they’re functional. Aside from that, Oplan Kalinga of OCD is also there,” he said.

Metro mayors are also monitoring possible clustering of cases in their areas.

“If there are clustering, granular lockdown should be held in place. Immediate isolation. No home quarantine. Most of us don’t want to go to the quarantine centers. Most of them just want to stay at home but Delta is very infectious. It should never be allowed,” he said.

He likewise stressed the importance of immediate testing, tracing and isolation to contain the possible spread of infection.

“The mayors themselves can apply for granular lockdowns if there are clustering. There are protocols in place,” he said.

Abalos reminded the public that the Delta variant is faster compared to other COVID-19 strains. 

“What we experienced in February and March, South African and UK, its quite fast but this one is really faster that’s why everyone should act right now and while were doing so continuous vaccination should be in place specifically for senior citizens and persons with comorbidities,” he said.

The MMDA chief added that as of July 21, about 6.8 million have been vaccinated so far in Metro Manila.


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