MANILA — The health department has assumed that community transmission of the more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant is already happening in the country even without enough evidence to make an official declaration, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Saturday.
"Base doon sa mga nakukuha nating samples and results coming from the Philippine Genome Center, mukhang 'yan po talaga yung pinapakita na the community transmission is there," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a public briefing.
"But as I always say, mula pa noong umpisa, we treat already as a community transmission at 'yun na po mga aksyon na ginagawa natin," she added.
Vergeire's statement came after PGC's Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Saloma said in a radio interview earlier in the day that the said transmission is already happening.
She reportedly said they could no longer link a lot of Delta variant cases in the country.
Video courtesy of PTV
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), community transmission happens when connections between local infections, the Delta variant carriers in this case, could no longer be established through the positive test results of routine sampling.
The agency confirmed the Delta variant's local transmission on July 22.
Based on DOH's bulletin as of Aug. 12, the country has 807 known cases of the variant, 14 of which are still active.
A total of 17 carriers died from the disease.
The country's genome sequencing capacity remains limited.
The Delta variant ripped through the health care system of India at its peak in April, and is being tagged as behind the surge of infections in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
On Friday, the Philippines reported its all-time high 17,231 new COVID-19 cases.