SEVENTEEN more cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been detected in the Philippines, bringing the total to 64, the Department of Health (DOH) reported Saturday.
Of the additional infections, 12 are local cases, one is a returning overseas Filipino, while four are still being verified.
“Three cases remain active and 14 cases have been tagged as recovered. The outcomes are being validated by our regional and local health offices,” the DOH said in a statement.
Nine of the 12 local cases are from the National Capital Region while the remaining three were detected in Calabarzon. The department, however, did not disclose the location of the three active cases.
Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana, infectious diseases expert and member of the DOH Technical Advisory Group, on Saturday advised the public to strictly follow the health protocols and get vaccinated as soon as possible. He noted that physical distancing and wearing of mask and face shield also “work and can interrupt transmission.”
In his social media page, Salvana warned that the variant has a “1,000-fold higher viral load than the old virus and is three times more contagious” and can be “more severe” even in young people.
“The spread locally is steady, but not yet exponential. We can still temper its spread and the increase in the number of cases. The best combination for protecting yourself and your loved ones is to use all the tools available to us,” he said.
Aside from Delta, the DOH has also reported the detection of 11 Alpha (B 1.1.7), 13 Beta (B.1.351), and two P.3 variant cases.
Of the 11 Alpha variant cases detected, only one remains active after three have recovered and seven succumbed to the disease. Of the Beta variant cases, one is still active, two died, while 10 have recovered.
The confirmed Alpha variant cases in the country number 1,679, and the Beta cases, 1,840.
Meanwhile, both the P.3 variant cases have been tagged as recovered.
Reports showed that the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, has been driving the surge in infections in neighboring Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
The Philippines has imposed a temporary ban on the entry of travelers from these countries until July 31 to stem the further spread of the Delta variant. Philippine News Agency