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Senators urge gov’t to take quick action on rising Delta variant cases

/ 01:54 PM July 21, 2021
Senators to gov't: Quick action vs Delta variant

FILE PHOTO: Residents wearing face masks and shields queue up to receive a dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine inside a Catholic church turned into a vaccination center in Quezon City, Philippines, on May 21, 2021. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — Saying the Philippines is nearing the “tipping point,” senators are urging the government to take quick action and address the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country involving the more contagious Delta variant.

Senator Nancy Binay said the national government should focus on imposing stricter border controls and saving the healthcare system amid the continued threat posed by the Delta variant.

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“With the potential brunt of the Delta variant, dalawang bagay sa ngayon ang kailangan bigyan ng focus ng gobyerno: Stricter border controls, and save the healthcare support system from a possible collapse,” Binay said in a statement.

“The [Department of Health] has to prepare for the possibility of our fully vaccinated healthcare workers acquiring the Delta variant,” she added.

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Binay said the government should find practical ways to protect healthcare workers who are more prone to infections.

“Ramdam mo sa kanila (HCWs) ang frustration at desperation,” Binay said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, said it may be time to place the National Capital Region (NCR) under enhanced community quarantine—the strictest quarantine status—to avoid the high number of COVID-19 cases.

“Upang maiwasan ang sinapit ng Indonesia baka kailangan ng ECQ sa NCR. Pakinggan natin ang mga health experts,” Pangilinan said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, for her part, said that should another lockdown be implemented, there should also be assistance for those who will be affected by it.

“’Yung pagtakda rin ng mga particular protocols for particular sectors tulad ng mga bata, pakinggan din ng Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) ‘yung mga LGUs dahil maaring iba iba ang nakikita nilang kakailanganing para sa mga bata doon sa kanilang area,” Hontiveros said.

The national government should also boost its testing and contact tracing capabilities, she added.

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“’Yung variant po kasi na iyan ay talagang nandirito at siya yung posibleng nagda-drive nung pagtaas ng mga kaso, lalo na doon sa mga area na mababa pa ang vaccination coverage,” Hontiveros said.

“‘Yung mga area na maaring nagluluwag na mga quarantine dahil bumababa ang cases pero dahil mababa parin ang vaccination sa mga areang iyon, kapagkanakapasok doon ang Delta variant, yun talaga ang suspetiyang main driver ng pagtaas muli ng mga kaso,” she added.

Senators Sonny Angara and Koko Pimentel said the movement of people should be monitored to keep the Delta variant from spreading.

“Ang importante is private establishments regulate number of persons in their spaces like shops gyms buildings. Otherwise, the delta variant will spread quickly indoors,” Angara said.

“Dapat ang guiding principle natin is ‘essential’. General rule: stay at home. Exception: Go out only for essential activities,” Pimentel said.

As of July 21, there are 46,806 active COVID-19 cases in the country, according to the Department of Health (DOH). Total cases have reached 1,517,903, with the death toll at 26,844 and recoveries at 1,444,253.

/MUF

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