THE Department of Health (DOH) yesterday reported the detection of the country’s first 11 local cases of the more transmissible Delta coronavirus variant, two of which are in Metro Manila.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 16 new Delta variant cases were detected in the latest genome sequencing run, composed of five returning overseas Filipinos (ROF) and 11 local cases, bringing the total to 35.
Vergeire said that out of the 11 local cases, two were detected in Metro Manila. One of the two cases died after being rushed to the hospital on June 28. The other case has recovered from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) after falling ill on June 23.
Six other Delta variant cases were detected in Region 10 and are part of a “large cluster of cases” with dates on onset of illness ranging from June 23 to 28. All patients have recovered.
One local case was tested for COVID-19 in Metro Manila but has an address in Region 3. The patient has also recovered after getting sick on June 27.
The health official said all the cases have no known connection to each other.
The last two local cases were both detected in Region 6. They have also recovered from COVID-19 after falling ill on May 27.
Meanwhile, out of the five ROF cases, one arrived in the Philippines from the United Kingdom on April 26 and has been tagged as recovered after undergoing a 14-day quarantine.
Another two ROF cases arrived from Qatar on June 15 and have also recovered from COVID-19.
Vergeire said the DOH is still verifying the arrival date and quarantine status of the last two ROF cases.
The highly contagious Delta variant has spread to at least 98 countries since it was first detected in December 2020. Delta is also associated with double the risk of hospitalization compared to the Alpha variant first detected in the United Kingdom.
Despite the detection of local Delta variant cases, infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvana expressed optimism that Filipinos will still be able to enjoy a “happier Christmas” this year.
Salvana and other DOH advisors urged the public to continue adhering to health protocols against COVID-19 and stressed that vaccines remain effective even against variants.