MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday confirmed the local transmission of the highly infectious Delta COVID-19 variant.
The DOH made the confirmation following the phylogenetic analysis conducted by the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center, and case investigation by the DOH Epidemiology Bureau and the regional and local epidemiology and surveillance units.
“Clusters of Delta variant cases were seen to be linked to other local cases, therefore, exhibiting local transmission,” the DOH said in a statement.
The number of Delta variant cases in the Philippines rose to 47 after 12 more local cases were detected.
The DOH assured that the government has implemented enhanced COVID-19 response in areas where Delta variant cases were reported through the enforcement of the “four-door strategy.”
“Both the national and local governments have been continuously working together to intensify the implementation of the Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Re-integrate response strategies and increase the country’s health system capacity to be able to manage cases,” it said.
The DOH also emphasized the need to continuously enforce strict border control measures and travel bans to “delay the entry of the variant, giving the country a headstart to prepare its capacity to manage potential surges.”
“Furthermore, the government together with other National Government Agencies, Centers for Health Development, local government units (LGUs), and the private sector, has been ensuring that there are enough COVID-19-dedicated ward, ICU, and TTMF beds in the country, especially in areas experiencing case spikes,” it said.
“The government is also preparing for enough supplies of COVID-19 medicines, oxygen tanks, and critical care equipment in hospitals and augmentation of human resources,” it added.
The DOH reminded the public to continue adhering to COVID-19 health protocols, such as the wearing of face masks and face shields, and social distancing.
They must also get vaccinated against COVID-19 when it is their turn.
“Moreover, the public is advised to avoid unnecessary travels and gatherings. DOH urges LGUs to shorten the duration of case detection to isolation and immediately isolate symptomatic patients, and ramp up their vaccination and prioritize the senior citizens and people with underlying conditions,” the DOH said.