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Manila prepares for possible lockdown to check Delta variant spread

/ 04:33 PM July 28, 2021
lockdown, COVID-19 surge, PPE

This photo taken on April 6, 2021, shows a man wearing personal protective equipment walking into a makeshift ward built for COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Manila. (Photo by JAM STA ROSA / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila City government is making preparations for the possible enforcement of a lockdown as the country sees a rise in COVID-19 Delta variant cases.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno held an emergency meeting on Wednesday with Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, in order to discuss measures to prevent another possible surge, information from the Manila Public Information Office (MPIO) said.

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“The Manila City government is now preparing for a possible implementation of a lockdown in the nation’s capital amid the rise of cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant in the country,” MPIO said in a statement.

“Domagoso (Mayor Isko Moreno) has tasked the Manila Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office, the Manila Barangay Bureau, and the Manila Police Department to alert its forces in case the need of a granular lockdown,” it added.

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“The Mayor has also coordinated with the directors of the six district hospitals, the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital, and the Manila Health Department in case of another surge of COVID-19 cases.”

According to Moreno, he does not want a repeat of what happened last April and May when COVID-19 patients died while waiting in parking lots for available hospital beds.

“Ayaw na nating marinig na may mga namatay sa parking lot dahil wala nang space sa ospital. Grabeng dagdag pasakit ‘yun,” Moreno said.

“Kaya ngayon na may Delta variant, it’s a good thing that we have a facility that can serve the public. Welcome po ang lahat dito,” he added.

First discovered in India, the COVID-19 Delta variant is deemed to be 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant that was initially detected in the United Kingdom.

The Delta variant has been characterized by increased transmissibility which led to record-breaking surges in India during the second quarter of 2021.

A similar situation in Indonesia has led health experts across the globe to monitor the Southeast Asian country as cases soar higher than in previous surges.

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READ: Indonesia bracing for worsening COVID-19 outbreak

READ: Delta variant puts brakes on return to post-COVID normality

Moreno earlier expressed worry about the time it takes genome sequencing to detect the presence of the Delta variant. Moreno said the Delta variant may already be spreading undetected in Metro Manila.

Moreno said it takes around three weeks to one month for the Philippine Genome Center at the University of the Philippines to send back samples to the local government.

This means COVID-19 patients may have already infected other individuals before being informed that they were carrying the Delta variant.

READ: ‘Sana mali ako’: Isko Moreno fears Delta variant already spreading in Metro Manila

In July, Moreno urged Manila residents to stop anticipating the enforcement of lockdowns, saying that people must learn how to live amid the pandemic.

He said that the city government would try its best to help Manila residents lead normal lives despite the pandemic. He said this will be done through vaccination and through the enforcement of strict measures to check widespread infection.

READ: Moreno: Let’s learn to live amid COVID-19 crisis, stop relying on ‘band-aid’ lockdowns

Moreno assured Manila residents that the city government is prepared for every possible scenario even before the Delta variant was detected in the country.

“The City of Manila has actually been preparing for the worst-case scenario over the past few months. Kahit nung hindi pa nagka-surge, we have kept on adding to our quarantine facilities and other resources in response to the pandemic. Hindi talaga dapat maging kampante,” he said.

According to the MPIO, the city has 642 active cases as of Wednesday noon.  Bed capacity within the city’s six district hospitals is currently at 32 percent, while the field hospitals in Manila are 65 percent occupied.

COVID-19 quarantine facilities in Manila however have a 9 percent occupancy rate at present.

/MUF

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TAGS: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, COVID-19, COVID-19 infections, COVID-19 pandemic, Delta variant, GCQ, general community quarantine, lockdown, Manila, Mayor Isko Moreno, nCoV update, Philippine news updates
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