The Philippines needs to have a stable inventory of oxygen should there be another surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, the Department of Health said Monday.
A total of 16 cases of the Delta variant have been reported in the country: five returning Overseas Filipino Workers, and 11 local ones. These include two from Antique, five from Cagayan De Oro, one from Misamis Oriental and three from Manila.
Health Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country had been preparing for a possible surge in cases since the Delta variant was first reported in India.
"Currently our existing oxygen supply are sufficient but we need to add additional so that we can be more prepared," Vergeire told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
"Our hospitals are now guided that they should be expanding their beds already. Our local governments have been guided also they should intensify their PDITR (Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate) response," she said.
Local government units should also help patients look for hospitals more easily in case a surge hits, she said.
While studies are yet to determine if the Delta variant brings a different set of symptoms, Vergeire said data from other countries shows that the variant is more transmissible with a higher probabilty of hospitalization.
MORE ON THE DELTA VARIANT:
To combat its spread, Vergeire said agencies and authorities should continue testing and quarantine protocols at all times, regardless of the variant. Genome sequencing is an added safety measure, she added.
"Kailangan lang po tayo ay very cautious. Kailangan ipatupad ang protocol natin for isolation and quarantine of close contacts and those turning positive," she said.
Mobility and border control will always be a factor in the virus' spread, Vergeire said. "We will assess everyday so we can see if we need to heighten restrictions at kung kailangan magkaroon ulit ng NCR Plus bubble."