India reports cases of new COVID-19 variant called ‘Delta plus’

Robie de Guzman   •   June 23, 2021   •   629

The government of India has declared a new coronavirus variant, locally called “Delta plus,” a variant of concern after it was found in dozens of cases reported in three states.

In an advisory on Tuesday, India’s Union Ministry of Health said the presence of the Delta plus variant was detected in certain districts of Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.

“Union Health Secretary has communicated to these three states this variant has been found in genome sequenced samples from Ratnagiri and Jalgaon Districts of Maharashtra; Palakkad and Pathanamthitta Districts of Kerala; and Bhopal and Shivpuri Districts of Madhya Pradesh,” the ministry said.

The ministry said that based on recent findings, the Delta plus variant has showed the following characteristics:

• Increased transmissibility
• Stronger binding to receptors of lung cells
• Potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response

Twenty-two cases of the Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus have been detected in India, with 16 of them being reported from Maharashtra and the remaining from Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, according to the government.

The health ministry also said that India is among the nine countries where the Delta Plus variant has been detected. It said that the variant has been detected in the US, UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, China and Russia.

The Delta plus is a mutated version of the Delta variant, first found in India.

With this development, the ministry advised the three states to take up immediate containment measures in the districts and clusters, including preventing crowds & intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis.

They were also advised to ensure that adequate samples of positive persons are promptly sent to the designated laboratories of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) so that clinical epidemiological correlations can be made for further guidance to be provided to states.

INSACOG is a consortium of 28 laboratories of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Dept. of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for whole genome sequencing in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past 24 hours, India reported 42,640 new infections, the lowest since March 23, and 1,167 deaths.

Infections now stand at 29.98 million, with a death toll of 389,302, health ministry data showed.

Public urged to be more responsible when visiting leisure areas amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday reiterated its call on the public to be more responsible when visiting public and leisure areas amid the enforcement of COVID-19 Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila.

PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar made the appeal following reports of individuals ignoring public health protocols while visiting the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach.

“Paulit-ulit ang ating paalala sa publiko na mahigpit na sumunod sa minimum health standards lalo na kung nasa pampublikong lugar o pasyalan gaya ng Dolomite Beach,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“Nauunawaan ko ang kagustuhan ng ating mga kababayan na makalabas ng kanilang mga tahanan, subalit kung hindi tayo mag-iingat ay hindi malabong tumaas na naman ang kaso ng COVID-19 at mapilitan na naman ang gobyerno na maghigpit sa mga protocols,” he added.

The PNP chief said he has tasked concerned police offices and units to deply enough personnel to public areas to help the marshals in implementing safety standards and controlling the crowd.

“Inatasan ko na ang ating unit commanders na siguraduhin na sapat ang bilang ng ating kapulisan sa mga pampublikong lugar upang matiyak ang pagsunod sa minimum public health safety na siya din namang ipinapakiusap sa ating ng Department of Health,” Eleazar said.

He, however, reminded police officers to observe maximum tolerance, especially to those who will be caught violating the protocols.

The national government downgraded Metro Manila’s alert status to Level 3 amid the decrease in COVID-19 infections. This will be in effect until the end of October.

Under Alert Level 3, several establishments are allowed to operate at 30% indoor venue capacity only for fully vaccinated individuals, and 50% outdoor venue capacity, provided that all employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Delta Plus sub-variant na nasa 27 bansa, 10% umanong mas nakakahawa kaysa original variant ayon sa ilang eksperto

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – Mahigpit ngayong binabantayan ng health experts ang bagong klase ng Delta variant na AY.4.2 o ang tinatawag na Delta Plus.

Naitala ang variant na ito sa 27 bansa, kabilang na ang United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, Romania, Poland, Ireland, Denmark, at ilang bahagi ng Western Europe.

Hindi pa kasama sa ngayon ang Delta Plus sub-variant sa listahan ng variant of concern o variant of interest ng World Health Organization (WHO).

Pero babala ng mga eksperto, malaki ang posibilidad na mas nakakahawa ito kaysa sa orihinal na Delta variant dahil mayroon itong dalawang mutations sa spike genome.

Ibig sabihin, branch na ng Delta variant ang Delta Plus sub-variant at dalawang beses pa itong nag-mutate.

Sinasabing ang Delta Plus sub-variant ang isa sa mga dahilan ng muling pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa United Kingdom.

Sa ulat ng United Kingdom Health Security Agency, nakita ang lumalawak na kaso ng Delta Plus sub-variant sa England.

Sinasabi rin ng mga eksperto roon na 10 porsiyento itong mas nakakahawa kumpara sa parent variant nito na Delta variant (B.1.617.2).

Upang mapigilan ang posibleng pagpasok ng naturang sub-variant sa Pilipinas, sinabi ng mga otoridad na kailangan pang paigtingin ang border control.

Kailangan rin anilang matiyak na tuluyan nang mapuputol ang hawaan ng Delta variant sa bansa dahil lalong nagmu-mutate ang virus kapag patuloy na dumadami ang nahahawa nito.

Quezon City allows minors to visit Quezon Memorial Circle

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

Minors aged 17 and below are now allowed to go to Quezon Memorial Circle, the Quezon City government said.

In an advisory, the city government said that minors will now be allowed to take a stroll in the park provided that they are accompanied by their parent or guardian at all times.

It, however, said that the park will only accommodate up to 30 percent of its capacity.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) earlier said that the intrazonal and interzonal travel of minors is now allowed as long as they are accompanied by adults.

The easing of travel restrictions for minors follows the government’s move to place Metro Manila under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 from October 16 to 31.

Under Alert Level 3, more establishments have been allowed to resume operations at 30 percent capacity for fully vaccinated individuals, and 50 percent outdoor capacity, provided that all employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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