Palace: Govt to review quarantine status every 15 days amid Delta variant threat

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 27) — From a monthly basis, the community quarantine classification in areas nationwide will now be reviewed by the national COVID-19 inter-agency task force every 15 days, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Tuesday.

The change in policy comes as the government readies for a possible surge in infections due to the highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant, Roque said in a briefing.

“Sinabihan na po ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) ang Presidente na ang ating classification will now be every 15 days, kasi we need to be able to move quickly kapag talagang sumipa po ang kaso ng Delta variant,” he said.

[Translation: The IATF has already informed the President that the classification will now be every 15 days, because we need to be able to move quickly should there be a surge in Delta variant cases.]

Last week, the Department of Health confirmed the local transmission of the variant. On Sunday, the Philippines’ Delta variant case tally rose to 119 after the DOH confirmed another 55.

Should the numbers escalate, Roque said the government will not hesitate to impose stricter lockdowns. However, he stressed that in deciding quarantine restrictions, authorities also consider the need to allow Filipinos to go out to make a living.

In a separate briefing, the independent research group OCTA reported that a COVID-19 surge is ongoing in Metro Manila. Professor Guido David, an OCTA fellow, said they have yet to determine the cause of the rising infections but added the Delta variant may have been a driver.

Based on official figures, over 1.56 million people nationwide have contracted the coronavirus. More than 56,000 of these are active cases as of Tuesday, the highest count since June 20 when there were more than 57,000 ill patients.