Philippines detects four more cases of Delta COVID-19 variant
Individuals under the A4 priority group are inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine as the local government of Quezon City launches their QC ProtekTODO Bakuna Nights program at the city hall open grounds on June 16, 2021.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

Philippines detects four more cases of Delta COVID-19 variant

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - June 21, 2021 - 10:43am

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine health authorities reported Monday the detection of four more cases of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, raising the total to 17 cases.

Three of the new patients infected with the B.1.617.2 variant were returning overseas Filipinos from the MV Eastern Hope, a ship currently docked in South Korea.

Two of them completed the 10-day isolation after arrival in the country and were discharged upon certification of recovery. One is still at a Metro Manila hospital.

An overseas Filipino worker who arrived from Saudi Arabia on May 24 also contracted the Delta variant. He was tagged as recovered on June 10 and is now under strict home quarantine.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus was first identified in India. The World Health Organization said it is becoming the globally dominant variant of COVID-19, Reuters reported.

Studies are showing it is more contagious and seems to have stronger resistance to vaccines than other forms of the disease.

The current ban on travelers coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, and Oman will be in place until June 30 at the earliest. 

Other variants

The Department of Health, University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center, and the UP-National Institutes of Health said they also detected 14 new Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant cases, 21 Beta (B.1.351) variant cases, and one Theta (P.3) variant case.

Of the additional Alpha variant cases, 12 were local cases, while two were being verified whether they were local cases or not. Two cases died, while 12 cases were tagged as recovered.

The country has so far detected 1,085 cases of the Alpha variant, or the one that was first identified in the United Kingdom.

Among the 21 new Beta variant cases, all but one were local cases. Twenty cases recovered from the illness, while one case is currently active.

There are 1,267 reported cases of the variant that was first detected in South Africa.

Health authorities said the additional Theta variant case was already tagged as recovered.

The DOH reiterated the Theta variant — which was first seen in the Philippines — is not a variant of concern.

Biosurveillance activities

Health authorities said biosurveillance activities for the detection of coronavirus variants will continue as parts of Visayas and Mindanao see an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Last week, the DOH said the lack of kits was affecting the country’s genome sequencing output and delaying the release of updates on the circulating coronavirus variants.

In a statement Monday, the department said reagents are expected to arrive in the country this week, which will allow authorities “to sequence samples of COVID-19 cases regularly until the end of the year, ensuring that the government will have essential information in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.” — with report from Agence France-Presse

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