CONTINUED BIOSURVEILLANCE ACTIVITIES DETECT MORE COVID-19 VARIANT CASES

Press Release | 29 July 2021

The Department of Health (DOH), the University of the Philippines - Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines - National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) today report the detection of 97 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases, 83 Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant cases, 127 Beta (B.1.351) variant cases, and 22 P.3 variant cases in the latest batch of whole genome sequencing results.

ON DELTA VARIANT CASES:

Of the 97 new cases of the Delta variant, 88 were local cases, six were Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROF), and three are being verified if they are local or ROF cases. Of the six ROFs, two were from seafarers of MT Clyde and Barge Claudia, currently anchored off in Albay, and four were from crew members of MV Vega that arrived from Indonesia.

Ninety-four cases have been tagged as recovered and three were fatalities. The DOH is coordinating with the respective local government units to determine other information, such as exposure and vaccination status.

The total number of Delta variant cases is now 216.

ON ALPHA VARIANT CASES:

Of the additional 83 Alpha variant cases detected, 58 are local cases and 25 are currently being verified if they are local or ROF cases. Based on the case line list, 70 cases have been tagged as recovered while there are 13 cases whose outcomes are being verified. This brings the total Alpha variant cases to 1,858.

ON BETA VARIANT CASES:

Of the additional 127 Beta variant cases, 87 were local cases and 40 cases are currently being verified if they are local or ROF cases. Based on the case line list, one remains active, 86 have been tagged as recovered, and 29 outcomes are currently being verified. The total Beta variant cases are now at 2,146.

ON P.3 VARIANT CASES:

Of the additional 22 P.3 variant cases, seven were local cases while 15 cases are currently being verified if they are local or ROF cases. All seven local cases have been tagged as recovered while there are 15 cases whose outcomes are currently being verified.

Following the detection of additional cases with variants of concern, it is imperative for local government units to immediately crush clusters of infection and observed increases in cases in their respective jurisdictions to reduce transmission. This can be done through active case finding, shortening the detection to isolation/quarantine interval to less than five (5) days, tracing close contacts of suspects, probable, and confirmed cases within 24 hours of detection, and implementing more targeted granular lockdowns. Also, the intensified implementation of the PDITR strategies across all settings, stricter border control, and correct adherence to the minimum public health standards must be observed.

The Department of Health would like to reiterate that whole genome sequencing is conducted to guide the overall response strategies of the government and to determine if variants are causing spikes in cases, and thus should not be used as point-of-care strategies. Regardless of the presence of a variant of concern, the management and interventions for these positive COVID-19 cases remain the same.

Furthermore, the DOH stresses the importance of vaccinating priority groups A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with underlying conditions) since they are at high risk for severe COVID-19 and death. Vaccines are effective in reducing morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19, which will be very instrumental in our goal of saving lives.

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