MANILA – The Philippines has logged 16 new cases of the extremely infectious Delta coronavirus variant, including 11 locally transmitted cases.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire stated in an online media conference on Friday that six of the first 11 local cases reported were found in Northern Mindanao and “are part of a huge cluster of infections.” They’ve all recovered.
She said that two cases have been discovered in Metro Manila.
“One case was tagged as death after being rushed to the emergency room of a hospital on June 28. The other case is an outpatient with an onset date of June 23 who was tagged as recovered already,” she said.
She stated that one person had a Central Luzon residence but was tested for the disease in Metro Manila.
She reported two cases in Western Visayas, both with an onset date of May 27. Both have made a full recovery.
“All of these cases have no known connection to each other,” Vergeire said.
According to Vergeire, five of the 16 new cases involve returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).
She noted that cases from Qatar came on June 15 and have successfully recovered from Covid-19.
Meanwhile, she stated, one patient from the United Kingdom came on April 26 and has recovered from the sickness.
She stated that the Department of Health is still validating the arrival and quarantine status of the two other ROF cases.
The country currently has 35 Delta variant cases.
Dr. Edsel Salvana, an infectious disease expert, stated on Facebook post that the Delta variant detections do not yet imply widespread transmission.
He noted that the detection of Delta variant cases, including local ones, has improved the Philippines’ ability to customize its actions to the ongoing Covid-19 risk.
“It is clear that these viruses got through our cordon, perhaps due to lapses in border protocols. Fortunately, the detections are sporadic, and do not yet represent widespread transmission,” he said.
“This also mirrors case counts in the areas that have had detections and surges, and these have already been appropriately under tighter restrictions proactively due to surges that preceded the variant identification,” he added.
According to Salvana, the country’s healthcare policies have been “successful” in preventing the more transmissible variant from creating the type of surges observed across Southeast Asia.
“We need to continue to keep more introductions out as we work to stamp out transmissions from these detected cases and their close contacts,” he said.
Vergeire stated that the country’s health-care system is prepared for the Delta variant, which was discovered in India earlier this year.
“Alam ninyo po ang pinaka importante, we were given time. Nung nag-umpisa ang surge sa India, nakita ng government ano ang pwede mangyari sa bansa pag may Delta variant. Nag-umpisa na po tayo mag-prepare ng ating health system (What’s important is that we were given time. When the Delta variant surged in India, our government saw what could possibly happen here. So back then we already started preparing our health system),” she said.
Additional beds, intensified PDITR strategy (prevention, detection, isolation, treatment and reintegration) and ensuring that there is adequate oxygen supply are among the preparations made.
“‘Yung oxygen supply in collaboration with DTI, nakapag imbentaryo tayo. Tinignan nila ang mga manufacturers ng ating oxygen at ‘yung pino-produce is enough for our existing needs at meron tayong surplus. Hospitals have sufficient supply sa ngayon. Nanghingi din tayo ng tulong sa DTI kung pwede dagdagan pa ang i-produce (In collaboration with DTI, we were able to make an inventory. The oxygen produced by manufacturers is enough for our existing needs and we have a surplus. We also asked the DTI if the manufacturers can produce more),” Vergeire said.