After reports from the Department of Health on the presence of local cases of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has called on concerned government authorities to reinforce the country’s response efforts to the pandemic.

The DOH earlier clarified that a ‘local case’ means that the Delta variant was detected from an individual who was not classified as a returning overseas Filipino (ROF). Meanwhile, ‘local transmission’ means there is evidence that such cases are linked together and has spread from one local case to another.

In a radio interview on Saturday, July 17, Go suggested that the Philippine Coast Guard should beef up its maritime patrols, particularly in Mindanao’s backdoor entries, to prevent the spread of the Delta variant, which has resulted in an increase in Covid-19 cases in neighboring Southeast Asian countries.

“May nagsabi po na four times more contagious o 40% to 60% na nakakahawa itong Delta variant at ‘wag na nating hintayin pang kumalat ito sa ating bansa. Kita niyo ang nangyari sa Indonesia, tumaas ang kaso, magsasara na naman sila.” he added.

To avoid the spread of the Delta COVID-19 variant, the Philippines recently prohibited visitors from Indonesia. The restriction will be in effect from July 16 to July 31 and will apply to anyone travelling from Indonesia or who has recently visited the country.

In a Bloomberg news report, Indonesia became the new epicenter of the pandemic in Asia after it surpassed the number of new daily cases of India.

Meanwhile, Go stressed that the government could not afford to return to a stricter community quarantine, particularly now that the country’s economy is slowly recovering from the pandemic’s adverse impacts.

Go reassured the public that once the country achieves population protection and herd immunity, everything will return to normal. That is why he appealed to the public to with authorities especially in fast-tracking the vaccinations.

As of July 16, the country has received a total of 24,788,110 doses of vaccines.

The country set a new record for vaccinations in a single day at least twice this week, when it administered 375,000 COVID-19 doses on Monday and another 391,000 on Thursday.

The country expects to receive a running total of around 50 million Covid-19 jabs from different manufacturers since they first arrived until the end of August.