MANILA (UPDATE) - The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reported 12 new cases of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, all of which are considered local cases.
In its latest bulletin, the health department said all 12 new Delta variant infections have already recovered but "their outcomes" are still under validation through the agency's regional and local health offices.
The country now has a total of 47 Delta variant cases, of which 8 are still active.
The new Delta variant carriers were found in the following areas:
- Metro Manila - 3 cases
- Central Luzon - 6 cases
- Calabarzon - 2 cases
- Bicol - 1 case
It is unclear, though, if the new variant cases included the samples of those from the 12 Filipino crew members that had sailed from Indonesia, where one snuck out even if they are positive for the virus.
The agency has yet to answer queries from the media regarding the matter but Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said their samples could take up to 6 days to process.
The agency said, however, that localities where these cases were detected, and where infections recently spiked, should "implement enhanced response" with "the premise that there may be ongoing local transmission already."
OTHER COVID-19 VARIANTS
Meanwhile, the agency also detected over 300 more cases of other COVID-19 variants in the country.
- Alpha variant (first detected in the United Kingdom) - 187
- Beta variant (first detected in South Africa) - 142
- P.3 variant (first detected in the Philippines) - 12
Most or 179 of the fresh Alpha cases are local. Eight cases are still under verification, the DOH said.
Of the new Alpha variant cases, 54 already died, while 133 have already recuperated.
On the other hand, most or 134 of the Beta variant infections are local cases, while 8 patients are also still being verified whether they are local infections or from returning overseas Filipinos.
Twenty-one of the new Beta carriers are fatalities while 121 are recoveries, the DOH noted.
Almost all or 11 of the P.3 variant cases are considered local, while a case is still under verification. All have already recovered from the respiratory disease.
The P.3 variant was first reported in Central Visayas in February. It is no longer considered a variant of interest.
The P.3 variant has the mutation that is linked to increased transmissibility, but there is no proof yet that it actually causes that effect, officials have said.
The newly-reported variant cases, meanwhile, raises the total Alpha infections to 1,668, Beta cases to 1,827, and P.3 variant carriers to 233.
Philippine authorities are currently keeping guard against the spread of the Delta variant, the B.1.617.2, as experts tagged the strain behind the overwhelming infections in India and Indonesia, stretching the countries' health care capacity.
The Delta variant remains a variant of concern, along with 3 other variants of the virus that are seen as more dangerous than the original version because they are more transmissible, deadly or have the potential to get past some vaccine protections.
- with reports from Agence France-Presse