Entry of Delta variant prompts alert warnings, calls for more gov’t action

July 17, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 176 views

PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar urged his men and the public to be extra cautious after local cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant have been recorded in the country.

“The detection of the Delta variant in the country serves as a warning to all of us against complacency. Nakita na natin ang epekto nito sa India at ito ngayon ay seryosong banta sa kapitbahay nating bansa na Indonesia. Again, the success and failure of our efforts to prevent the spread of this more transmissible and more deadly variant is on our hands: by strictly observing the tried-and-tested observance of the minimum public health safety protocol,” the top cop said.

According to the PNP chief, they will continue their mandate to enforce health and safety protocols outlined by the national government to prevent the spread of the infection despite the growing number of members of the police force who have succumbed to the virus or have contracted it since March last year.

As of Saturday morning, the PNP Health Service said it recorded the 78th COVID-19 fatality in the force with 47 new cases reported.

To date, there are a total of 29,245 members of the PNP who have contracted the virus although 27,852 of them have fully recovered from the diseases and are now back to full duty status.

The Department of Health said 16 new Delta variant cases have been detected, including five returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and 11 local cases, bringing the total number to 35.

Meanwhile, some areas have shifted back to Enhanced Community Quarantine to prevent further COVID-19 transmissions. Iloilo province and the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, and Gingoog have been placed under the strictest quarantine classification until July 31.

“Sa panig ng PNP, patuloy kaming nakikipag-ugnayan sa IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) at sa NTF (National Task Force) Against COVID-19 upang i-review kung ano ang dapat i-review, at palakasin pa kung ano ang mga dapat pang palakasin sa aspeto ng pagpapatupad ng mga alituntunin para sa kaligtasan nating lahat,” said Gen. Eleazar.

He also tasked police personnel manning quarantine control points to be more vigilant and heighten security measures to help in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus and its variants.

The PNP Chief likewise reminded concerned police units to ensure that rules under ECQ would strictly be enforced, specifically the mandatory wearing of face masks and face shields and social distancing.

SOLON CALLS FOR RT-PCR TESTING OF A4 WORKERS TO STOP SPREAD OF DELTA VARIANT

A party-list solon urged the government and private companies to provide random RT-PCR tests for A4 workers to curb the spread of the Delta variant.

Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) Party-list made the appeal following reports from the DOH that the Delta variant is here in the Philippines with at least 35 cases confirmed.

TUCP Rep. Raymond Mendoza called upon social partners, the employers and the government, to immediately take measures for immediate and robust randomized RT-PCR testing of A4 workers nationwide.

TUCP believes that such randomized testing is now made imperative to gauge the extent of the spread of the Delta variant in order that our health response not be caught flat-footed.

Mendoza stressed that the only way to prevent the spread of this new Delta variant across the country is through robust and rapid testing of A1 frontliners and A4 workers, as these are the members of the community that continue to go out and are more exposed to the virus as they keep the economy alive.

“Employers have to step up and take on the responsibility of testing their workers, lest they further the spread of this Delta variant that could potentially lead the Philippines down the same disastrous path as other countries being ravaged by the new strain. We have seen that despite the excellent vaccination efforts in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia, even fully vaccinated citizens are susceptible to catching this virus. We have only begun our vaccination program and this puts us in a more vulnerable position,” the lawmaker said.

To date, less than 4 percent of the total population or 4 million Filipinos has been fully vaccinated. In order to reach the targets for herd immunity, at least 70 percent of the population need to be given full doses of the vaccine.

While the A1 workers and OFWs and Seafarers are subjected to COVID tests, the larger bulk of our workforce, the A4, are made to fend for themselves in the matter of being given RT-PCR COVID tests.

APPEAL FOR P6K CASH AID TO CAGAYAN DE ORO RESIDENTS

A House leader appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to extend financial aid to the people of Cagayan de Oro, since the city was placed under strictest Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).

In a letter sent to the inter-agency task force (IATF) on emerging and infectious diseases, Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said people in the city need financial assistance amounting to P6,000.

This is because of the 11 cases of the highly transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant cases, five were detected in Cagayan de Oro and one in Misamis Oriental, which his city is part of.

“Now under ECQ, people are required to stay home, will not be able to work and they will not have income to purchase food and other basic necessities for their families for the next two weeks from July 16 to July 31,” he said.

“In view of the same, may I request for cash assistance of P6,000 for each family in Cagayan de Oro since it is already under ECQ,” Rodriguez added in his letter to the President.

He pointed out that while Bayanihan Heal as One Law or Republic Act No. 11469 mandated financial aid of P6,000 to P8,000 for poor households for two months in two tranches in the entire Philippines, low-income families in Cagayan de Oro “received only the first tranche of P6,000 because the city was not declared under ECQ but only under GCQ (general community quarantine).”

The lawmaker sent a similar letter to Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista, of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), that administers the distribution of cash aids to areas under ECQ.

Meanwhile, in a separate letter to Health Sec. Francisco Duque lll, Rodriguez asked him to “immediately send a team of medical experts on the Covid-19 Delta variant to Cagayan de Oro City to assist the city in implementing the proper steps to prevent the outbreak of the Delta variant.”

He also requested that “more vaccines be re-directed and immediately sent to Cagayan de Oro, which is now the battleground of this Delta variant to protect our city residents.”

“It is in working together and acting with caution that we will be able to successfully defeat the Covid-19 pandemic, especially this Delta variant,” he stressed.

The House leader expressed alarm over the spike in Covid-19 cases in his city, noting that more than half of the 11 Delta variant carriers detected yesterday were found in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.

He likewise proposed to the DOH and local authorities to strengthen border and pandemic control measures and enforcement of basic health protocols.

“My constituents are wondering where the Delta variant carriers came from, why they were not detected at the airports, seaports or places of origin,” he added.

With Jester Manalastas

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