(Eagle News) — The Department of Health advised the public to refrain from unnecessary travel and gatherings as it confirmed the local transmission of the highly infectious Delta variant in the Philippines.
The DOH said the local transmission was confirmed after “clusters of Delta variant cases” were found to be linked to other local cases following the phylogenetic analysis conducted by the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center , and a case investigation by the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, and the regional and local epidemiology and surveillance units.
The DOH said the government has initiated an “enhanced COVID-19 response” in areas where Delta variant cases were detected “through the implementation of the four-door strategy.”
“Both the national and local governments have been continuously working together to intensify the implementation of the prevent, detect, isolate, treat and re-integrate response strategies and increase the country’s health system capacity to be able to manage cases,” the DOH said.
It said the government and the private sector were also ensuring that there were enough COVID-19-dedicated wards, ICUs, among others, especially in areas where there are COVID-19 spikes.
The government is also preparing for enough supplies of COVID-19 medicines, oxygen tanks, and critical care equipment in hospitals, and human resources, the department said.
According to the DOH, nevertheless, the public should do its part, noting that the best defense against any COVID-19 variant is still the “correct and consistent adherence” to minimum public health standards.
“Moreover, the public is advised to avoid unnecessary travels and gatherings,” it explained.
The DOH also urged local government units to shorten the duration of case detection to isolation and “immediately isolate symptomatic patients, and ramp up their vaccination and prioritize the senior citizens and people with underlying conditions.”
“The DOH further calls on everyone to work together to beat the COVID-19 pandemic,” the DOH said.
Earlier, the DOH reported 12 more local Delta variant cases in the Philippines, pushing the total Delta variant cases to 47.
Of the 12, the DOH said three were in Metro Manila.
Prior to this, the DOH said of the 16 additional Delta variant cases detected at that time, 11 were also local cases while five were returning overseas Filipinos.
Of the additional 11 local cases at that time, the DOH said two were also in Metro Manila.
Globally dominant variant
The DOH had warned of a possible surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, which it said could be up to 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant.
While an Alpha variant-positive person could infect three to four people, a Delta variant-positive person can infect eight in one sitting.
The OCTA research group composed mostly of UP researchers has said the COVID-19 reproduction rate in Metro Manila was now at 1.15, making it a “high-risk” area for COVID-19.
President Rodrigo Duterte has said the Philippines may need to re-impose stricter restrictions due to the Delta variant, which he said was “more “vicious, aggressive, and fatal.”
The World Health Organization has said the Delta variant was on track to becoming the globally dominant variant due to its transmissibility.
(Eagle News Service)