THE Department of Health (DOH) yesterday reported the detection of 640 additional cases of the Delta COVID-19 variant in the latest batch of whole genome sequencing run by the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center and the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health.
The DOH said that of the 748 samples sequenced, 640 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases (85.6%) were detected, 28 Beta (B.1.351) variant cases (3.7%), 24 Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant cases (3.2%), and five P.3 variant cases (0.7%) were also detected.
The samples were submitted by 77 laboratories, collecting institutions, and different Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units.
Of the 640 Delta variant cases, 584 were local cases, 52 were Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROF), and four cases are currently being verified if these are local or ROF cases.
Of the 584 local cases, top regions indicated as addresses of the cases were the National Capital Region (NCR) with 112 cases, Cagayan Valley with 52, and CALABARZON with 49. There were two cases whose indicated address was the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Based on the case line list, three cases are still active, 13 cases have died, while 624 cases have been tagged as recovered. Case details are being validated by the regional and local health offices.
The total Delta variant cases are now 2,708.
Of the 24 Alpha variant cases, 23 were local cases and one was a ROF. Based on the case list, one case died while 23 cases have been tagged as recovered. The total Alpha variant cases are now 2,448.
Meanwhile, the additional 28 Beta variant cases were all local cases. Based on the case list, all have been tagged as recovered. The total Beta variant cases are now 2,725.
The five additional P.3 variant cases were all local cases. Based on the case list, all have been tagged as recovered.
The UP-PGC also announced that starting Sept. 9 they will be scaling down their COVID-19 RT-PCR testing services to shift their resources on the detection of COVID-19 variants through whole genome sequencing.
The shift will lead to an expected increase in the sequencing capacity and detection of COVID-19 variant cases in the country in the succeeding months.
As cases with the Delta variant and other variants of concern comprised the largest percentage of cases included for sequencing on this latest run, the DOH strongly reminded everyone to continue its enhanced PDITR + vaccination strategies, ramped up active case finding, contact tracing and testing, and strict adherence to the minimum public health standards across all settings to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 and its variants.