DOH, UP-PGC, AND UP-NIH BIOSURVEILLANCE DETECTS ADDITIONAL COVID-19 VARIANTS

Press Release | 22 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 12 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases, 187 Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant cases, 142 Beta (B.1.351) variant cases, and 12 P.3 variant cases on the latest whole genome sequencing.

ON DELTA VARIANT CASES:

In this latest run with additional 12 Delta variant cases, all were local cases. The indicated addresses of these local cases were as follows: Region III with six cases, CALABARZON with two cases, Region V with one case, and the National Capital Region with three cases. All cases have been tagged as recovered but their outcomes are being validated by our regional and local health offices. This brings the total Delta variant cases to 47.

Also, in the previous sequencing on July 15, 2021, 16 Delta variant cases were detected among five Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and 11 local cases. Of the 16 cases, 2 died and the rest have completed their initial 10-day isolation period. Upon release of sequencing results, immediate contact tracing, quarantine, and RT-PCR retesting were done on all cases and their close contacts. Third generation contact tracing was also initiated. Eight Delta variant cases who returned positive on the reswab were placed in isolation and their contacts remained in quarantine.

With the detection of additional cases, it is crucial that we implement enhanced response immediately in the areas where these cases were detected and its contiguous LGUs as well as areas with case spikes with the premise that there may be ongoing local transmission already.

ON ALPHA VARIANT CASES:

Of the additional 187 Alpha variant cases detected, 179 were local cases and eight are currently being verified if they were local or ROF cases. Based on the case line list, 54 cases have died while 133 have been tagged as recovered. This brings the total Alpha variant cases to 1,668.

ON BETA VARIANT CASES:

Of the additional 142 Beta variant cases, 134 were local cases and eight cases are currently being verified if they are local or ROF cases. Based on the case line list, 21 have died and 121 have recovered. The total Beta variant cases are now at 1,827.

ON P.3 VARIANT CASES:

Of the additional 12 P.3 variant cases, 11 were local cases and one is currently being verified if this is a local or ROF case. All cases have been tagged as recovered.

The P.3 variant has been reclassified as “alert for further monitoring”. This variant is currently being investigated and information continually collected to monitor its public health implication.

With the detection of local cases with the Delta variant and other variants of concern, the public must strictly adhere to the minimum public health standards and continue to avoid enclosed spaces and mass gatherings. Continued implementation of the PDITR strategies and localized lockdowns, active case detection, contact tracing, completion of isolation/quarantine, and increased vaccination of the priority groups are necessary to control the further transmission of COVID-19 and its variants. The local government units are also requested to increase their samples for whole genome sequencing especially in areas with identified spikes of cases and clustering.

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