The Philippines may revert to stricter health protocols due to local cases of the Delta Covid-19 variant, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), 35 Filipinos have been found with the Delta variant, with three fatalities.

“The reported local cases in the country is a cause for serious alarm and concern. Again, it’s redundant but still it is good as any warning that can be given to the people,” Duterte said during his weekly public address.

“We may need to reimpose stricter restrictions to avoid mass gathering and prevent superspreader events,” he added.

The World Health Organization considers the Delta variant a “variant of concern” because of its heightened transmissibility.

First detected in India and now ravaging Indonesia, the Delta variant has been found to be 60 percent more infectious.

“I urge the (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and the (Philippine National Police) to implement the existing protocols with greater urgency and necessity. It is only by imposing these restrictions that we can fight the threat of Delta variant,” Duterte said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said that the arrival of the variant was inevitable.

The Philippines has fully vaccinated more than 4.7 million individuals vs Covid-19, far from its target of 50-70 million. John Ezekiel J. Hirro