DOH: Only 13 cases of Delta variant detected so far in Philippines

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 21 2021 09:05 AM | Updated as of Jun 21 2021 11:12 AM

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MANILA - Only 13 cases of the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant have been detected so far in the Philippines, the Department of Health said Monday.

One patient has died from the variant while the rest have already recovered, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergerie said.

"From how we have analyzed it, our border controls are working because we were able to detect all of these 13 [cases] from incoming travelers or workers or Filipino residents coming home," she told ANC's "Rundown".

The Delta variant, first identified in India, appears to be more transmissible and likely to cause severe illness to patients, according to experts. 

The variant is also becoming the globally dominant variant of the disease, the World Health Organization said last week.

On Friday, the Philippines tallied its most number of active cases in 6 weeks, attributing the increase in cases in regions.

Vergeire said they "assumed" that the South Africa and UK variants were driving the infections in the Visayas and Mindanao.

The country had earlier extended a travel ban that aims to keep out the Delta COVID-19 variant first detected in India until the end of June. This covered India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.

"What we are banking on would be our... border control protocols where we think that we are adequately preventing the entry [of variants]," she said.

Vergeire noted that identification of COVID-19 variants in the Philippines has slowed down in the past weeks due to the lack of genome sequencing kits.

"What would be good is we are going to receive our reagents this week. It's going to be arriving Monday or Tuesday and this is going to give us this reagents until the end of the year," she said.