The goal of achieving collective immunity by Christmas, particularly in Metro Manila and eight other high-risk areas, is “reasonable” but it could change if the Delta variant of coronavirus disease (COVID -19) is spreading in communities, a research group OCTA said on Sunday, June 27.
“Given the numbers, our hope of achieving collective immunity at least in the NCR (National Capital Region) Plus 8 by Christmas is reasonable. Again, this does not take into account the Delta variants. So the Delta variant is coming and things will change, ”molecular biologist priest Nicanor Austriaco said in an interview with Teleradyo.
NCR Plus 8 is made up of COVID-19 “high risk areas”, namely Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Pampanga, Batangas, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.
“What we’ve noticed over the last year and a half, we have a push when there’s a new variant. If there is no variation then things fall apart and that is what you are seeing now. You see a descent after the arrival of the Alpha and Gamma variants, which are the British and South African variants. So now we have to protect ourselves from the Delta variant ”, underlined Austriaco.
“The numbers for NCR Plus are excellent. We have recovered from the push but the question is the threat of the Delta or the Delta Plus. I think this is something the government will be looking at. It’s not just how good we are now, but we have to be prepared in case the Delta or the Delta Plus arrives, ”he said.
He said the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, and the Delta Plus variant, which appeared in Nepal, have been shown to be “more transmissible.
In addition to being more transmissible, Austriaco noted that the Delta Plus variant “shows vaccine breakout”, meaning it is “resistant to some of the vaccines”.
“The Delta variant is now the most common Delta version, but the Delta Plus version which has appeared in Nepal is also developing slowly,” he said.
Although there is no evidence yet that the Delta or Delta Plus variants are in community transmission, Austriaco has urged Filipinos to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to be protected against the emerging variants.
Austriaco also noted the importance of implementing strict international travel protocols to prevent the Delta variant from entering and spreading within communities.
“Protecting our borders is absolutely essential at this time. The 10 day quarantine is 99.7% effective. In many other countries, they even do 14 days, which is 100% effective, ”he said.
“It is important that they [OFWs] go into quarantine especially our kababayans (compatriots) returning from India and other hot regions of the delta. Hopefully we maintain the 10-day if not 14-day quarantine for them, ”he added.
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