Delta variant subtype not yet detected in PH — DOH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 21)— A subtype of the Delta variant which has reportedly contributed to the rise in coronavirus infections in the United Kingdom has not yet been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health said Thursday.

In a statement, the DOH said the country’s biosurveillance team has been “closely monitoring” 46 sublineages of the Delta variant, but has so far not seen the feared AY.4.2.

READ: A new Delta descendant is rising in the UK. Here's what to know.

“As of this moment, experts are still studying the potential impact of the Delta sublineage on the transmissibility and severity of COVID-19. The particular Delta sublineage has not yet been detected among the COVID-19 positive samples sequenced in the country,” the DOH said.

A report by the UK Health Security Agency said the AY.4.2 accounted for an estimated 6% of cases by the end of September, adding that it is “on an increasing trajectory.”

Experts, including the World Health Organization, are still monitoring and investigating its transmissibility.

No complacency

Local health experts, meanwhile, urged the public to remain vigilant amid the development.

“I think we should still not be complacent with our health protocols even if we will downgrade our alert level,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Rontgene Solante told CNN Philippines’ News.PH.

“The prospect of these new variants coming in and in fact, this new variant, the subtype, is detected in a country where there is a higher rate of vaccination so there is a possibility we can have this variant and that can also again cause more surge in cases,” he added.

The DOH also underscored the importance of abiding by the COVID-19 health protocols in order to curb the virus transmission.