MANILA -- The COVID-19 Delta variant is 60 percent more transmissible compared to previous variants, making the virus more potent and deadly, a medical expert said on Saturday.
Dr. Edsel Salvaña, a member of the IATF Technical Advisory Group, said however that the Delta variant can be beaten by adhering to minimum health standards like social distancing, the use of face masks and face shields, and getting vaccinated.
"(The Delta variant) is three times more contagious than the original SARS COV-2 virus," said Salvaña in his presentation during an IATF meeting with President Duterte which was aired on Saturday night.
"Ang nakakatakot sa Delta... it can infect up to eight people (around him) and those eight can infect another eight kaya nakikita natin sa India, sa Indonesia ang bilis bilis ng spread."
Once a person is infected by the virus, he said, it only takes 30 hours for the patient to transmit the disease to another person.
"Dati, it takes about three days bago ka makahawa ng tao, ngayon 30 hours lang pwede ka nang makahawa," said Salvaña. "(At) 'yung sinasabi nating close contact na 15 minutes... ngayon 1-2 minutes lang pwede nang makahawa."
But Salvaña remained optimistic the government is taking the right approach to curb the spread of the COVID Delta variant.
"It is beatable with our minimum health standards," he said. "Face shield, face mask, physical distancing and of course we have to vaccinate everyone. We need to make sure na maglevel up ang ating compliance because the variant has levelled up."
Salvaña also noted that the government has been cautious in relaxing restrictions even as it pushes for an aggressive vaccination effort.
"Deaths going down in countries with high vaccination rates, so tama ang ginagawa natin. We're more cautious in our relaxing our measures, yung sa US nagtanggal na sila ng masks kahit mataas ang vaccination rate nila," he said.
"In the short term, we should continue to vaccinate as fast as possible, use our face masks and our face shields and hopefully we can avoid the surges that are facing our ASEAN neighbors po."