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DOH: 25 Delta variant cases detected in Metro Manila

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
DOH: 25 Delta variant cases detected in Metro Manila
Passengers bound to their respective destination line up at EDSA carousel bus station in Caloocan City on March 17, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — A health official on Wednesday bared that nine cities in Metro Manila have reported cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, but stressed there is no surge in infections in the capital region. 

The Philippines has confirmed local transmission of the variant that is driving a significant uptick in cases across Southeast Asia. 

Dr. Manuel Mapue II said at a "Laging Handa" goovernment forum that the nine Metro Manila cities account for 25 of the 119 total Delta cases in the country. 

Mapue is chief of the Department of Health's epidemiology and surveillance unit in the National Capital Region.

The country's capital, the city of Manila, has the most Delta variant cases at ten, followed by Pasig with seven and San Juan with two. 

Quezon City, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Parañaque, and Taguig, all have one case each.

Mapue said that, of the 25 cases recorded in NCR, one has died, eight have been listed as recovered, while 16 remain active cases.

NCR's number contradict the Department of Health tally of 12 active cases across the country as of July 24. 

Officials have yet to respond if there have been new cases detected since then, but the department raised its count to eight from zero on July 20 after re-tests on persons who were already cleared by local governments as recovered. 

The detection of Delta variant cases in Metro Manila has stirred calls for and fears of a new lockdown. The government returned it to stricter quarantine status in past months as infections skyrocketed to overwhelm hospitals. 

OCTA Research on Tuesday said the capital region is now seeing a surge in cases, a conclusion that the health department disagrees with.

"We still can't call this a surge because we don't have evidence yet to call it that," Mapue said in Filipino. "Although, we can see that cases are beginning to go up."

He added that per their records, new infections are starting to rise in Las Piñas, Makati, Pasay and in San Juan.

Mapue said DOH would declare the existence of a surge should the increase in additional cases become steady.

He said Metro Manila mayors' decision to extend curfew hours would help stem the increase in cases because people's movements would be limited. He said, however, that improving detection, isolation, and tracing strategies would be more effective.

"It would also help for the public to continue practicing public health standards," Mapue continued in Filipino, "and limit going out and going to crowded places."

OCTA Research has called for a new lockdown in Metro Manila before cases go up further.

"We don't want what happened in Indonesia, in India, and what is happening in Thailand, where cases exploded because their response was too little and too late," OCTA Research fellow Ranjit Rye said in Filipino.

Mapue said the region has added supplies of personal protective equipments and masks and has ramped up vaccinations among vulnerable groups to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce this week the new quarantine classifications for cities and provinces for August. 

DELTA VARIANT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH METRO MANILA
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