Baguio gears up for stricter quarantines status once Delta hits

13 August 2021 – The city government is preparing to revert to a stricter quarantine status once its Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases rise due to the spread of the dreaded Delta variant.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said this is an eventuality that the city will have to contend with, in face of the expected dire and prolonged effects of the more contagious and virulent variant.

“Eventually, we will have to adopt a stricter quarantine status.  Our economy will suffer but it is imperative that we enforce stricter measures to contain the spread of the virus,” he said.

With it, he said border restrictions to non-essential travels will have to be extended as it is vital to restrict the movement of people and deter the spread of the virus.

“We will continue our strict entry rules for as long as necessary because judging from the experience of other countries that had bouts with the Delta variant, it will take more than two months to have a downward trend in cases,” he said.

Also part of the preparations are the revival of the scheduling or market pass system and the rolling store and market-to-home delivery schemes.  Coordination is now being done with the concerned agencies and offices on this end.

The mayor also announced the cancellation of the Baguio Day celebration and other big events slated earlier also as part of the safety precautions.

He said the city has been doing its best to prepare on all fronts including up enhancing isolation centers, hospital logistics, medicine and oxygen reserves and intensification of the disinfection, testing, contact tracing, isolation, lockdown and vaccination programs. even as he urged residents to do their part by adhering to the public heart standards.

On the part of the constituents, the mayor reiterated his appeal for cooperation in adhering to the minimum public health standards whether inside or outside their homes.

 “Wear double face masks and face shield, observe physical distancing, proper hygiene and handwashing, avoid crowded and enclosed spaces, ensure proper ventilation, disinfection and get vaccinated when it’s your turn,” he said.

Government and private establishments are likewise advised to intensify implementation of the public and social health protocols like wearing of double masks, observance of physical distancing among their employees and customers, regular disinfection, ensuring proper ventilation and avoiding crowding and lingering in confined spaces and eating in groups.

Medical experts had warned that unlike the original Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) strain, the Delta variant has the capacity to infect a person in seconds and to linger more in the air.  Its infectivity rate was even likened to that of chickenpox.

Positive patients are also said to become highly contagious in a shorter time and even if they are asymptomatic because the Delta can cause a high amount of viral load.

Also unlike the original strain and most of the other variants, its initial symptoms are mild but once it gets into a person’s system, it can attack the organs with severity so that an infected person will instantly experience difficulty in breathing.

Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Medical Director Dr. Ricardo Ruñez however cautioned that the Delta variant’s behavior is dynamic and its manifestations differ from one case to another. – Aileen P. Refuerzo