City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has underscored the need for the city to prepare and be more cautious of the threats of the more contagious Delta variant of the Covid-19.
He said the threats of the new variant had been a topic during an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases that he attended on June 19.
Magalong said the Delta variant is now a big concern in many countries in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, as well as in Europe, Africa, and Asia, due to the spike in cases in their areas despite the fact that majority of their population have already been vaccinated.
The Delta variant, first detected in India last year, is becoming the dominant Covid-19 variant globally for being more transmissible and fastest to do so, according to the World Health Organization. It is 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant first detected in U.K.
There is no evidence, however, that it is more deadly than other Covid-19 variants.
As the new variant is not ordinary, Magalong said it practically reduces the efficacy of any type of vaccine.
He said it is just a matter of time the city will get hit by the Delta variant, reason why even if the city’s tightened border controls have so far been effective, he does not discount the possibility of the Delta variant sneaking in to the city.
“I caution everyone. We need to prepare. (If that happens), it will overwhelm our health system,” Magalong said during Monday’s flag raising program.
He warned that if the city experienced spike in the last months due to the UK variant since it entered the city in March at 100 cases a day and an average of 60 deaths a month, a more severe situation could happen once the Delta variant reaches the city.
He said the best defense remains to be the practice of minimum health protocols, particularly the wearing of face mask and shield and physical distancing, which he said should not be difficult to observe.
“I don’t agree to suggestions to no longer wear face shield outdoors. Department of Health experts no less underscored the need to wear face mask and shield and observe social distancing,” he said, as he urged everyone to make sure of using medical-grade face masks over those made of cloth.
He said the city government will do a series of publications regarding the Delta variant so that people will be well informed about its threats.
The mayor has also ordered the General Services Office to distribute the remaining donated face masks and shields to the offices and the Philippine National Police to implement the city’s Face Shield Ordinance. – Hanna C. Lacsamana