MANILA— Zambales has logged its first known COVID-19 Delta variant case in a 2-year-old girl, its governor said on Saturday, as the highly infectious strain continued to drive cases across the country.
Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said it was the child's mother, a nurse, who first contracted the virus on July 28.
The child did not experience fever, cough, or any signs of weakening, Ebdane said. He did not mention what municipality the mother and child are from.
The girl's samples were sent to the Philippine Genome Center on Aug. 5, and results were only released on Aug. 23. It is the lone lab in the country capable of genome sequencing to identify COVID-19 variants.
"'Yung natanggap 'yung resulta ng PGC, we decided to put them on additional restriction. Hanggang ngayon nandoon pa 'yung mag-aama sa quarantine center at nag-request kami na magpadala uli ng specimen sa genome center."
(When we received the results from PGC, we decided to put them on additional restriction. Until now they are still in a quarantine facility and we requested to have their specimen sent to the genome center)
Local authorities are puzzled why the child was the only one who contracted the more transmissible variant, and not anyone else in the family, he said.
"Ang pinagtataka lang... Bakit yung bata lang ang mayroong Delta variant?"
(We are wondering why only the child got the Delta variant.)
They have also imposed stricter border controls and contact tracing in the province amid a fresh surge in cases. Granular lockdowns will also be implemented starting on Sunday, Ebdane said.
"Ipapatupad natin ulit ang mahigpit na curfew bawat barangay para wala nang lalabas. We also discouraged the holding of birthdays, weddings, and other parties sa mga bayan-bayan," the official said.
(We will implement stricter curfew in every barangay.)
Zambales has so far recorded 892 active COVID-19 infections, according to the governor.
The Department of Health (DOH) last week said they are already assuming community transmission of the Delta variant is already happening in the country.
The variant had devastated its origin India during its peak in April.
The country is struggling to contain the fast growth of new infections due to the more contagious variant, most especially in the capital region, also the country's economic center and seat of government.
DOH said that all regions in the country, except Bangsamoro, have Delta variant cases.