IATF to meet two days after DOH confirms local transmission of Delta variant

IATF to meet two days after DOH confirms local transmission of Delta variant
President Rodrigo Duterte holds a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on April 27, 2020.
Presidential Photo / Karl Norman Alonzo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has called for a special meeting of the government’s pandemic task force on Saturday, exactly two days after the Department of Health confirmed that there is local transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

CNN Philippines first reported that Duterte will call for an emergency meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and medical experts on Saturday.

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In its report, CNN Philippines said that Duterte would like to get insights from medical experts first before possibly imposing stricter measures.

Among the drastic steps Duterte may take is to close the Philippines borders, CNN Philippines said.

Ahead of the meeting, Duterte had already tightened curbs on Metro Manila, which shifted to a more stringent general community quarantine, allowing only essential travel in and out of the region and barring minors from going out of their homes.

In a statement issued late Thursday, the DOH said that based on the phylogenetic analysis by genomic experts and the investigation by the department, “clusters of Delta variant cases were seen to be linked to other local cases, therefore, exhibiting local transmission.”

According to the World Health Organization, “local transmission indicates locations where the source of infection is within the reporting location.”

The DOH said authorities have initiated "enhanced" COVID-19 response in areas where Delta variant cases were detected.

The government said it is making sure there are enough COVID-19-dedicated wards, ICU and isolation beds across the archipelago, especially in areas experiencing case spikes.

Preparations are also being made to ensure sufficient supplies of COVID-19 medicines, oxygen tanks and critical care equipment in hospitals and augmentation of human resources.

The DOH urged the public to continue practicing COVID-19 protocols and get vaccinated when it is their turn. — Xave Gregorio with reports from Gaea Katreena Cabico and Christina Mendez/The STAR

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