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No ‘Merry Christmas’ for Pinoys if Delta Variant Spreads

Studies found the delta variant to be 60% more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants.

It’s been more than a year of being in various states of community quarantine, and while the whole country has been striving to achieve herd community through vaccinations, Filipinos might have to stay at home again for Christmas this year.

According to Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, there has to be an increased vigilance against the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19. (Read: What businesses will be allowed to reopen in GCQ areas?)

In a joint meeting of the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship, and economic affairs, Concepcion said the “most serious variants” of COVID could “really throw a curveball and destroy entire plans” to reopen more sectors of the country’s economy.

“So we have to be careful in opening up, especially our borders, to countries that have a very high level of the Delta variant because if that penetrates the Philippines, then we will definitely not be able to achieve a merry Christmas,” Concepcion said.

The Delta Variant

A general view is shown of the mass cremation of those who died from the coronavirus at a crematorium in New Delhi, India (Photo from Adnan Abidi/Reuters/Al Jazeera)

The Delta variant was first identified in India and is said to be a more transmissible form of the novel coronavirus. It has spread to at least 77 countries and regions. Studies show that it is 60% more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants. (Read: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About COVID-19 in India)

The variant has the potential “to be more lethal because it’s more efficient in the way it transmits between humans and it will eventually find those vulnerable individuals who will become severely ill, have to be hospitalized and potentially die,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program.

Fortunately, vaccination appears to provide good protection against Delta. Ryan said world leaders and public health officials can help defend the most vulnerable through the donation and distribution of Covid vaccines.

Aggressive Vaccination Program

People wait to receive COVID-19 vaccine inside a sports arena turned into a vaccination site in San Juan City, the Philippines on April 1, 2021. (Photo from Rouelle Umali/Xinhua)

In the Philippines, Concepcion stressed the need to ramp up the vaccination program, as it is the single most effective protection against the Delta variants. (Read: What Is ‘Herd Immunity’ and How Can It Beat the Pandemic?)

Concepcion urged Filipinos to get inoculated as soon as the vaccines become available to them. In that way, not only are they protecting themselves and their loved ones, but isare also helping toward defeating the pandemic.

“Our plans hinge basically on the ability of both the private and public sectors, especially local government units, to inoculate as fast as possible, achieve population protection, and possibly the ultimate goal of herd immunity for NCR Plus this year,” Concepcion said. 

“We have to win this battle. We cannot fail because of the Delta variants, that is why we have to be really vigilant and do what must be done to keep that at bay,” he added. 

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