The Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday, August 6, that the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 is now present in all 16 cities of Metro Manila and its lone municipality of Pateros.
Metro Manila, or the National Capital Region (NCR), is under the strictest form of lockdown – called the enhanced community quarantine – starting Friday until August 20. It is composed of 17 local government units (LGUs), including the capital Manila.
“We detected Delta in all 17 cities and municipality in NCR,” the DOH said.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that nine of the 17 regions in the country already have cases of the Delta variant.
The Philippines now has 331 known cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant, but there are concerns that the actual number may be far higher, as the Philippine Genome Center is only sequencing a small percentage of the positive cases.
The fact that Delta is now regarded as the “fastest and the fittest” variant of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 also gives reason to assume there are more cases than what is currently being reported. If the original virus can infect about three people, and the Alpha variant can infect some four to five, Delta can infect up to eight people.
While evidence for community transmission is still being studied, the DOH said that the government “should act aggressively as if there is already community transmission.”
Community transmission means there are multiple unrelated clusters in several parts of a country or sources of infection are no longer traceable as large numbers of cases are not linkable to transmission chains.
On Thursday, the country recorded 8,127 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the Philippines’ total caseload to 1,627,816. Of the total cases, 28,427 died while 1,532,494 recovered. A total of 66,895 cases remain active or currently sick, the highest since May 3, when 69,466 active cases were recorded at that time. – Rappler.com