The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, July 16, reported 16 new cases of the highly-transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, which has become the dominant variant in several countries. Of these, 11 are local cases.
In a press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that 15 of the new detected cases had recovered while another died. Of these, 10 are females aged 14 to 79.
The country now has 35 cases of the Delta variant.
Here’s a summary of the 11 local cases reported:
- Six cases are detected from Northern Mindanao and “are part of a large cluster of cases.” All of them have recovered.
- Two cases are detected in Metro Manila – one died on June 28 at the emergency room of a hospital, while the other was an outpatient who had recovered. One case has reported address in Central Luzon, but was initially tested in Metro Manila. The DOH said that the cases “have no known connection to each other.”
- Two cases were detected in Western Visayas, both with an onset date of May 27. Both had recovered.
Meanwhile, five of the 16 new cases are returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).
- One case arrived in the Philippines from United Kingdom on April 26 and had recovered.
- Two cases from Qatar arrived on June 15 and had recovered.
- The DOH is still verifying the arrival and quarantine status of the two other ROF cases.
No local transmission yet
Dr. Alethea de Guzman of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau said that while local cases have been detected, the DOH could not say yet if there is local transmission of the Delta variant in the country, as evidence of the case linkages need to be established first.
To prevent further spread, the DOH said it was in close coordination with the Centers for Health Development and local government units to “ensure that all cases have been or are appropriately traced and managed.”
“The Bureau of Quarantine and the Department of Transportation are on high alert to implement strict border control measures,” it added.
“The DOH underscores that with our four-door strategy, we have delayed the entry of the Delta variant with the activation of Doors 1 and 2,” the DOH said. Doors 1 and 2 involve strengthening border controls.
Vergeire said that now that the country has detected local cases of the Delta variant, “Doors 3 and 4 are being activated.”
Door 3 would involve strengthening the implementation of the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) while Door 4 is ensuring that the country’s healthcare capacity is “ready for a possible surge.”
Over a year into the pandemic, countries around the world are still struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19, mainly driven by Delta variant. Neighboring country Indonesia is grappling with a “worst-case scenario” COVID-19 situation.
New cases of more infectious variants
The DOH also reported the detection of 264 cases of the Alpha variant, 299 cases of the Beta variant, and 55 new cases of the Theta variant.
This means the country now has a total of 1,481 cases of the Alpha variant, 1,685 cases of the Beta variant, and 221 cases of the Theta variant.
The World Health Organization has downgraded the classification of the Theta variant from “variant of interest” to an “alert for further monitoring.”