Surge in April ‘primarily driven' by Alpha, Beta

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 27) -- The Alpha and Beta variants -- not Delta -- mainly triggered the huge spike in cases in Metro Manila last April, the Philippine Genome Center said Tuesday.

"We did extensive sequencing during the surge focused on NCR...The surge we were experiencing in April was primarily driven by Alpha and Beta," PGC executive director Cynthia Saloma said in an online forum.

The Department of Health earlier said Alpha and Beta, which are more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2, have spread in all parts of the National Capital Region. Meanwhile, Delta, which is the most transmissible among all variants of concern, has also been recently detected in Metro Manila.

The country so far has recorded 2,019 Beta variant cases, 1,775 Alpha variant cases, and 119 Delta variant cases.

NCR, along with Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna, reverted to the strictest enhanced community quarantine from March 29 to April 11 due to the overstretched hospitals caused by the fresh surge in COVID-19 cases.

The highest average number of COVID-19 cases per day in Metro Manila was 5,534, recorded from March 29 to April 4 this year, according to the DOH.

The region is currently under general community quarantine with "heightened restrictions" as its new infections rose again after weeks of decline.

DOH Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said the recent increase in case counts may be due to Delta.

"Pwede iyan...Mayroong uptick ng kaunti ang new cases natin. Although hindi natin masabi kung sa Delta variant ito, pero presume natin ito na iyon," he earlier told CNN Philippines when asked if Delta triggered the rise in cases in Metro Manila.

[Translation: That is possible. There is a slight uptick in our cases. Although we cannot exactly say if it is because of the Delta variant, let's presume that is the case.]