MANILA - The Department of Health "assumes" that there is already community transmission of the Delta COVID-19 variant following the detection of cases in various parts of the country and the subsequent rise of infections, its spokesperson said Monday.
Government, however, still needs evidence to make the official announcement, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
"We like to assume that because there is already Delta variant cases in most areas of the country tapos nakikita natin tumataas ang kaso. The assumption is there but we still need to have evidence for us to officially pronounce that there is really community transmission," she told ANC's Headstart.
When asked if the capital region is experiencing a surge of virus cases, Vergeire said it was "not a recognized term in epidemiology" and that it was based on the capacity of the health system.
The OCTA Research Group over the weekend said there might already be community transmission in Metro Manila, which will be placed under strict lockdown from August 6 to 20 to arrest the spread of the highly transmissible variant.
Vergeire said independent research groups should "align communications" with government so as not to alarm the public.
"When they said there was already a surge that was really alarming. Government reacted to that because we were trying to manage the perception or how people will react so they can be able to manage appropriately and not panic," she said.
"When they said there was a surge, I think they alarmed people for which we have not seen evidence of this surge that they say."
The Philippines on Sunday tallied 8,735 fresh COVID-19 cases, bringing its total to 1,597,689. Of this figure, 63,646 were active infections.