Too late? Palace ’emergency’ meeting over Delta variant seen as lacking urgency

July 23, 2021 - 3:47 PM
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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on July 6, 2021. (Presidential photo/Ace Morandante)

Concerned citizens raised questions over the timeliness of the emergency meeting that was scheduled by President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday in light of the local transmission of the Delta variant in the country.

The chief executive is reportedly set to meet with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and medical experts to talk about the possibility of closing the country’s borders from other territories.

CNN Philippines reported that Duterte said the government may impose stricter measures as compared to the existing protocols, but he plans to hear the inputs from the medical experts first before making the decision.

The report also said that he is concerned about how the highly contagious COVID-19 variant has been affecting other countries like Australia and Indonesia, the country’s neighbor.

Duterte likewise said that he is worried about the impact of the aggressive variant and that the Philippines cannot afford another wave of infections.

There are a total number of 47 Delta variant cases detected in the country. Of which, eight are active cases while 12 of these are considered local cases.

On Friday, the Palace said that Duterte called for a special meeting slated this Saturday.

The Department of Health on Thursday acknowledged that there is now a local transmission of the variant after “clusters of Delta variant cases were seen to be linked to other local cases.”

Meanwhile, with the meeting scheduled this coming weekend, some online Filipinos perceived that the government lacks urgency in dealing with the local transmission of the coronavirus variant.

They questioned why the government needs to hold the meeting the following day or at a later date as it was labeled “emergency.”

”Emergency meeting;’ yet, ‘tomorrow’ pa! — Gising na ‘tay!” a Twitter user exclaimed in response to the report.

“Emergency meeting tomorrow? Yes, look at all the time we can afford during this crisis!” another online user wrote with sarcasm.

“So, because there’s an emergency NOW, he calls for an emergency meeting TOMORROW?!? Iba rin talaga ang definition ng gobyernong ito ng emergency, ano?” commented a different Filipino.

The Delta variant, which was first detected in India, is reported to be between 40% to 60% more transmissible than the Alpha first identified in the United Kingdom.

The Alpha variant is already 50% more transmissible than the original viral strain that was first detected in Wuhan, China.

A study featured in the medical journal The Lancet said that the Delta variant may also result in more severe disease, noting that the hospitalization rate of patients infected with it was about 85% higher than those with the Alpha variant.