PH confirms local transmission of Delta variant

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22) — The Department of Health has confirmed the local transmission of the more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant.

"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.

Early Thursday, the department reported 12 new local cases linked to the Delta variant, bringing the total to 47.

The Alliance of Health Workers earlier warned the Philippines will not be able to handle a severe impact of the feared coronavirus variant, similar to what's being experienced in Indonesia.

Prior to the confirmation, the country has been imposing travel bans on nations with Delta variant cases.

Upon the detection of local cases, the government enhanced response in areas where these were located through the implementation of the "four-door strategy," the DOH said. All levels of government have also been intensifying prevent, detect, isolate, treat, and re-integrate response strategies, and increasing health care capacity, it added.

Meanwhile, authorities are ensuring there are still enough COVID-19 dedicated wards, ICU, and isolation beds across the country, especially in areas experiencing a surge in infections. Preparations are also being undertaken to ensure enough supply of medicines, oxygen tanks, and critical care equipment in hospitals, as well as augmentation of human resources.

With this development, the DOH reiterated the importance of following minimum health protocols and getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The public is also advised to avoid unnecessary travels and gatherings.

Local governments are also urged to shorten duration of case detection to isolation and immediately isolate symptomatic patients. Vaccination of senior citizens and those with comorbidities should be also hastened.