Health experts tell Pres. Duterte: Delta variant “very scary”, could cause “India-like surge” in PHL

One Delta variant case can infect up to 8 people

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members prior to his talk to the people at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on June 21, 2021.


(Eagle News) — Health experts described the “Delta variant” as “very scary” as it could infect up to eight people at a time, and could cause an “India-like surge” in the country.

Among the variants, the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, is the most infectious and is responsible for the third wave of COVID-19 cases in many countries, including the United Kingdom which had been forced to delay the easing of curbs from June 21.

The Delta variant is also said to be one of the reasons for the current COVID-19 spike in cases in Indonesia.

“The Delta variant is really very scary and this is all the more reason why we really should police our borders po kasi it only takes one variant to get in and then pwedeng mag-India-like surge po tayo,” warned Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the Technical Advisory Group of Experts.


Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the Technical Advisory Group of Experts, explains why the Delta variant which was first detected in India is “very scary.” (Screenshot of PCOO video during President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People on Monday, June 21, 2021)

Salvana explained to President Duterte on Monday night, June 21, that the Delta variant (previously referred to as the Indian variant) which was previously responsible for the unusual COVID-19 spike in cases in India in March and April, was four times more contagious than the original virus from Wuhan, China.

The original COVID-19 variant can infect up to two people. The Alpha variant, first detected in the UK, can infect four to five people.

“Pero iyong Delta variant po, kaya niyang maghawa ng up to eight persons. Kaya kailangan po talagang pagtibayin iyong ating mga border controls at magsikap po tayo na hindi makapasok at saka hindi po ito maka-spread sa ating bansa,” said Dr. Cynthia Saloma, executive director of the Philippine Genome Center, in an earlier press briefing.

-“Big disaster” if entry of Delta variant not controlled-

“So it’s up to — four times more contagious than the original virus from Wuhan po. So this will really be a big disaster if we do not keep it out of the country po,” Salvana said.

He explained that it is important to keep this variant out of the country. Currently, there has been 17 cases of the Delta variant detected in the country. But there is no local or community transmission yet, as these cases are confined to returning overseas Filipino workers (ROFs) who have been placed under the strict mandatory 10-day quarantine protocol.

Salvana explained the rationale behind the so-called 10 plus 4 strategy of mandatory quarantine of people entering the country.

-Rationale for strict 10 plus 4 quarantine strategy-

“Basically the rationale for our 10 plus 4 strategy, as you are aware, the 10 days in facility quarantine upon arrival and we test on the seventh day, and then we have four more days of home quarantine is really designed to protect our country against the any COVID that is coming from abroad because it takes about 14 days for COVID to show itself kung matagal na po,” he told the President.

Kung hindi pa po siya nagpapakita on the 14th day, most likely wala po talagang COVID ‘yong taong ‘yon. But if they get infected at the time of arrival, then if we keep them in the quarantine, in the facility for 10 days at least hindi po nila ma — hindi nila mahahawahan ‘yong mga kasama nila sa bahay –— by the time we release them on the 10th day, they are almost no longer contagious,” Salvana explained.

Salvana said that the Delta variant “is very dangerous” because of its highly contagious nature.

The Delta variant is also 40 percent more infectious outdoors, and 60 percent more infectious indoors, which is why an extra layer of protection such as a face shield worn together with the face mask, is very beneficial.

-First vaccine dose not enough to protect vs Delta-

Partially vaccinated persons – or those who have just received the first dose of the vaccine – could still be infected with the Delta variant.

“So mabagsik po talaga ito. If we thought Alpha was mabagsik, ‘yong UK variant, mas mabagsik po itong Indian variant, ‘yong Delta. And, of course, there’s also the finding that ‘yong mga partially vaccinated ‘yong one dose pa lang, nahahawa pa rin po sila kasi mukhang itong Delta really needs two doses para po maprotektahan nang maayos,” Salvana said.

“Iyong one dose po is not very good at protecting against Delta,” he said.

Salvana also explained how the entry of just one undetected Delta variant case in the community could be disastrous. Fortunately, all 17 cases were incoming travelers who had been required to undergo the 10-day quarantine period in a facility because of the current government protocols.

“In the Philippines po, we’ve already had 17 cases of Delta pero all incoming travelers po and the protocols that you have approved have caught all of them po. So we have to continue and make sure that this is implemented nationwide because puwede po talaga tayong malusutan if we do not implement the strict protocol in all our borders because again it only takes one. And so we have to be cautious po with our quarantine rules,” he said.

The desire to protect the country from a COVID-19 surge caused by the Delta variant was what prompted President Duterte to later re-implement the mandatory wearing of face shields indoors and outdoors, as well as the directive to maintain the 10 plus four quarantine strategy for incoming travelers.

(Eagle News Service)