Health officials detect Delta variant in all 17 PH regions

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 2) — Health authorities have detected two cases of the Delta variant in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which means the highly contagious coronavirus variant is now present in all 17 regions in the country.

"They were collected July 24 with the onset of July 17 for one case," Dr. Cynthia Saloma, executive director of Philippine Genome Center (PGC), told an online forum on Thursday.

The World Health Organization earlier said the Delta variant is now the dominant variant in the Philippines.

Saloma said it will soon be easier to detect variant cases in other regions because sequencing equipment will be deployed in the Visayas and Mindanao by October or November.

The machines will allow for the sequencing of 350 samples per week.

"The funds have already been downloaded by the DBM to the University of the Philippines System and then to UP Mindanao so we will have better grasp of cases there," Saloma said.

The government allocated ₱295.7 million to detect coronavirus variants more effectively.

With the ₱295.7 million allocation, the country will go from processing 750 samples weekly to reviewing 2,200 samples per week.

Meanwhile, Saloma said the variant of interest named Mu is not considered a concern in the country for now as it is not linked to the current spike in cases. Nonetheless, the PGC is closely monitoring, she said.