MANILA - The Department of Health is seeking higher community quarantine levels as a preemptive measure against the Delta variant after recording an increase in COVID-19 cases all over the country.
"All areas are showing an increase in cases," Health spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told state television PTV.
"We need to immediately address, observe case increases, closely monitor health care utilization and consider implementing higher community quarantine as preemptive measures to contain the Delta spread," she said.
While the entire country's risk classification remains at "moderate," the National Capital Region (NCR) and NCR Plus areas "are showing a steep increase, while the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao [are] exhibiting slight increase in cases," she said.
As of August 2, the capital region registered the most number of new cases at 2,074, followed by Calabarzon, Central Visayas, Central Luzon and Western Visayas, data from the DOH showed.
Cavite, Laguna, Quezon City, Bulacan Cebu City, and Bohol are the top contributors of new COVID-19 cases in the country.
Of the 21 areas flagged due to moderate-high risk case classification, 11 areas had Delta variant carriers, Vergeire said.
In Metro Manila, the more virulent strain is present in 9 cities, she said.
Intensive care units in Las Piñas City are nearly full, while Pateros and Malabon are already at "critical risk," she said.
The two-week growth rate (TWGR) of the virus in Pateros is at 328 percent. This means that in the past 2 weeks, about 22 people in the area contract the virus daily, data from the DOH showed.
Malabon's TWGR is at 314 percent rate, and the city is estimated to have recorded 12 new COVID-19 patients every day in the past 2 weeks.
"We should stockpile on essential COVID-19 medicine and commodities," she said, adding that there should be a "30-day buffer for personal protective equipment, reagents and other medical supplies.
So far, 216 people have been confirmed to be carriers of the Delta variant, but Health officials said that they are already assuming that there is already community transmission of the more contagious strain.
Several government advisers have been urging the national government to increase the country's COVID-19 vaccination target to 80 percent from 70 percent to protect more Filipinos against the Delta variant which is "60 to 100 percent" more transmissible than the virus' original strain.
The national government earlier announced that the capital region will be placed under the strictest lockdown classification from August 6 to August 20 to curb the spread of the Delta variant.
The Philippines is expected to lose up to P105 billion each week due to Metro Manila's lockdown.