MANILA - The Philippines has detected 55 additional cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant, bringing the case load for the highly transmissible variant to 119.
The variant, first detected in India, is seen as responsible for the collapse of the healthcare system in the densely-populated nation, along with the uptick in cases in other Asian countries such as Indonesia and Thailand.
In a statement, the Department of Health (DOH) said 37 of the additional cases are local cases, while 17 are returning overseas Filipinos (ROF). The DOH is also still verifying if one case is a returning overseas Filipino or a local case.
Of the local cases, 14 are from Calabarzon, 8 are from Northern Mindanao, 6 had indicated addresses in the National Capital Region, 6 are from Central Luzon, 2 are from Davao Region and one case is from the Ilocos Region.
One of the cases died while 54 have been tagged recovered.
This comes just a couple of days after the DOH confirmed local transmission of the Delta variant in the country, with experts warning of a pre-surge in some areas, particularly in densely-populated Metro Manila.
With the confirmation of the local transmission, authorities have resorted to placing Metro Manila and other Luzon areas under stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) measures for a week as an effort to curb the virus spread.
According to the DOH, the purpose of whole genome sequencing is to guide the overall strategies of the government. Thus, all samples sequenced have already been tagged as COVID-19-positive and should have been managed and treated.
"With the establishment of the local transmission of the Delta variant, we need a swifter implementation of our response strategies. Local government units must immediately contain observed case increases through granular lockdowns and stronger PDITR implementation. We call on both public and private sectors to ensure active case finding, aggressive contact tracing, immediate isolation or quarantine, and compliance to minimum public health standards in their respective localities and even workplaces," it said.
LOCAL CASES OF OTHER VARIANTS TALLIED
On top of this, DOH has also tallied 94 additional Alpha variant cases, 179 Beta variant cases, and 9 cases of the P.3 variant or the variant first detected in the Philippines.
Of the additional Alpha variant cases, two cases have died, 91 cases have been tagged as recovered while one remains active.
Eighty-seven of the new Alpha variant cases are local cases, one case is a ROF, while they are still verifying if the other 6 cases are local cases or ROFs. With the new tally, there are already 1,775 Alpha variant cases.
Of the new Beta variant cases, 168 are local cases, four are ROFs while the remaining seven cases are still being verified. two of the additional cases of the Beta variant, first found in South Africa, are still active, while 175 have been tagged as recovered. One patient has also died. The total tally of the Beta variant cases is now at 2,019.
Of the P.3 variant cases, all are local cases and have been tagged as recovered.
DOH said the consecutive releases of several batches of the whole genome sequencing results over the past week is a result of added resources being provided by the DOH, the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) and the UP-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH).
Most recent samples and those from areas with spikes are also prioritized in the genome sequencing, DOH added.