DOH confirms local transmission of Delta coronavirus variant in PH

NO PHYSICAL DISTANCING -- Dozens of people gather sans minimum physical distancing in front of Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) building on Cabaguio Ave., Davao City. Health authorities have attributed the surge of COVID-19 cases in the region to complacency. (Keith Bacongco/MB/ FILE PHOTO)

The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed local transmission of the more transmissible Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus in the Philippines.

“Following the phylogenetic analysis conducted by the University of the Philippines - Philippine Genome Center, and case investigation by the DOH Epidemiology Bureau and the regional and local epidemiology and surveillance units, clusters of Delta variant cases were seen to be linked to other local cases, therefore, exhibiting local transmission,” the DOH said in a statement on Thursday night, July 22.

The DOH had announced 12 local cases of Delta variant, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 47.

It cited the need for the government to continuously enforce strict border control measures and intensify local COVID-19 responses.

“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.

“The country has been implementing travel bans and stringent border control measures to delay the entry of the variant, giving the country a headstart to prepare its capacity to manage potential surges,” it added.

The government assured that it will continue increasing the country’s healthcare capacity amid the possible surge in COVID-19 cases.

“ has been ensuring that there are enough COVID-19-dedicated ward, ICU (intensive care unit), and TTMF (temporary treatment and monitoring facilities) beds in the country, especially in areas experiencing case spikes,” the DOH said.

“The government is also preparing for enough supplies of COVID-19 medicines, oxygen tanks, and critical care equipment in hospitals and augmentation of human resources,” added the DOH.

The local government units (LGUs) were urged to further strengthen their respective COVID-19 responses.

“DOH urges LGUs 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,” it said.

The DOH likewise advised the public to strictly adhere to the health protocols.

“The best defense against any COVID-19 variant is still the correct and consistent adherence to the minimum public health standards and getting vaccinated when it is their turn. Moreover, the public is advised to avoid unnecessary travels and gatherings,” the DOH said.