OCTA Research is pushing the national government to reimpose the bubble policy over Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan—or NCR Plus—and put restrictions on children amid the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant in the Philippines.
Health authorities reported the detection of 16 more cases of the Delta variant in the country, bringing the total to 35. As of this writing, there are now three confirmed deaths.
In an interview with DZMM Teleradyo on Monday, July 19, OCTA fellow David Guido urged for a more proactive response in addressing the Delta variant.
“Para sa akin, kahit hindi na natin hintayin ‘yung confirmation na iyon. I-assume na lang natin na may Delta variant somewhere sa Pilipinas. Kailangan maging proactive na tayo. Baka may pagkalat na ‘yung Delta variant sa bansa natin pero hindi natin alam kung nasaan siya,” Guido said.
Guido said reimposing the NCR Plus bubble policy would allow economic activity in Manila to continue without implementing a stricter form of lockdown. He also urged restrictions on the movement of children since they are not yet eligible for vaccination.
“If we have a bubble and we are able to protect ourselves, the economy can still continue inside NCR Plus. We won't have a lockdown and children could still go outside because Delta would not be able to enter,” he added.
The national government has shifted Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna to general community quarantine until the end of July.
The OCTA fellow urged the ban on non-essential travel, with only essential trips allowed. He also suggested the government to implement additional “bubble” policies in the country.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is set to meet on Thursday, July 22, to discuss the changes in quarantine policies and other restrictions.
According to DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the DOH is closely monitoring seven active Delta cases after retests on patients that were previously listed as recovered.
The Philippines has recorded a total of 1,513,396 COVID-19 cases, as of this writing.