Philippines detects 12 more cases of Delta COVID-19 variant

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2021   •   300

MANILA, Philippines – Twelve more cases of the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant, which first emerged in India, have been recorded in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

In an update, the DOH said the additional Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases detected by the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) are all local cases.

The DOH said that the local cases were reported in the following areas:

  • Region 3 with six cases
  • CALABARZON with two cases
  • Region 5 with one case
  • 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,” the agency said.

In total, the country has recorded 47 cases of Delta variant.

In the previous sequencing on July 15, 2021, the DOH said that 16 Delta variant cases were detected among five returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and 11 local cases.

Of the 16 cases, two 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,” the DOH said.

The eight Delta variant cases who were found positive during retesting 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,” the DOH said.

Health authorities also reported the detection of 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.

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.

The Alpha variant was first reported in the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, of the additional 142 Beta variant cases detected, 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.

The Beta variant was first detected in South Africa.

Meanwhile, of the additional 12 P.3 variant cases detected, the DOH said that 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, it added.

The World Health Organization previously reclassified the P.3 variant as “alert for further monitoring.”

It means that this variant is still being investigated and information is continually collected to monitor its public health implication.

With the detection of local cases with the Delta variant and other variants of concern in the country, the DOH reminded the public to 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,” it said.

“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,” it added.

US Defense chief Austin to meet with Duterte on July 29 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III at Malacañang on Thursday, July 29.

In a statement, the Palace said Austin will pay a courtesy call on Duterte upon his arrival in the Philippines.

Austin is on an official visit to Southeast Asia that includes stops in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The visit aims to bolster the US’ ties with the said nations.

He will stay in Manila until Friday.

The US Defense chief’s visit highlights the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty, the Palace said.

Executive Secretary Salvador Mediadea, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr., Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje are expected to attend the courtesy call, it added.

UK to donate 415,000 shots of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to PH

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is set to receive more than 400,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that were donated by the United Kingdom (UK), the British Embassy said on Wednesday.

In a statement, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the AstraZeneca vaccine shots bound for the Philippines are part of the first batch of 100 million doses that the UK pledged to donate to low-income countries worldwide.

“The UK is sending 415,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to the Philippines. This is part of the first batch of the 100 million doses we’ve pledged to get the poorest parts of the world vaccinated as a matter of urgency,” Raab said.

“We’re doing this to help the most vulnerable, but also because we know we won’t be safe until everyone is safe,” he added.

The British embassy said the vaccines are expected to start leaving the UK this week.

The UK has pledged to donate 100 million vaccines overseas by June 2022. Around 80 million of which will go to World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility, with the rest going to countries directly

“The donations follow the pledge that G7 leaders made to vaccinate the world and end the pandemic in 2022,” the embassy said.

“This week’s deployment will help meet the urgent need for vaccines from countries around the world, including in Africa, South East Asia and the Caribbean. These regions are experiencing high levels of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” it added.

The Philippine government earlier said it has so far secured a total of 164 million vaccine doses from different vaccine manufacturers for this year through purchase as well as donations coming from the COVAX facility and other donor countries.

Daily COVID-19 cases sa NCR, posibleng madoble kung hindi magpapatupad ng hard lockdown — OCTA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Naniniwala ang OCTA Research group na dapat magpatupad ang pamahalaan ng “circuit breaker” lockdown upang mapigil ang posibilidad ng lubhang pagkalat ng Delta COVID-19 variant sa bansa.

Ayon kay OCTA Research fellow Prof. Ranjit Rye, maaaring magpatupad ng dalawang linggong enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) o kaya ay modified ECQ upang hindi magaya ang Pilipinas sa sitwasyon sa mga kalapit bansa nang kumalat ang Delta variant.

“What we’re envisioning is something along MECQ, ECQ. They will depend on the government and the amount of precaution we need… It was a precautionary recommendation because of an impending, clear, and present danger post of Delta,” ani Rye.

Sa pagtaya ng grupo, kapag hindi naagapan ay maaaring makapagtala ng 1,500 hanggang 3,000 kaso ng COVID-19 kada araw sa National Capital Region sa susunod na dalawang linggo.

Ayon kay OCTA Research fellow Prof. David Guido, nasa 1.33 na ngayon ang COVID-19 reproduction number sa NCR.

Halos kapareho aniya ito ng reproduction rate nang magkaroon ng surge noong unang bahagi ng 2020.

“It looks like it is manageable this time but it may no longer be manageable if we wait too long, before we make a crucial decision in our pandemic management,” ani Guido.

“We are averaging 1,000 cases. Two weeks ago it was just 600, and we thought it was decreasing, but something is driving the pandemic and pushing the caseload higher,” dagdag pa niya.

Dapat ding iwasan na umabot pa ang bansa sa worst-case scenario at umabot sa critical level hanggang 100% full ang hospital capacity sa NCR sa buwan ng Agosto.

Kasabay ng mga paghihigpit ng quarantine classification ay ang tuloy tuloy at mas mabilis na COVID-19 vaccination sa bansa.

Inirerekomenda rin ng grupo na paikliin ang interval sa pagbibigay ng doses ng Sinovac at AstraZeneca vaccines.

“Ramp up vacination even while we’re on lockdown. We can still do it,” ani Rye.

“OCTA is exhorting government to focus on its plan, we believe its plan will work in which the NCR plus 10. I was told by Sec. (Carlito) Galvez some time in August, 2 million Moderna vaccines are coming through as a donation from the United States,” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, inayunan naman ni Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Secretary Joey Concepcion ang panukalang ito ng OCTA.

“If the government, DOH Secretary Duque will push for a two-week hard lockdown, we will support it because we will prefer to solve the problem early and not wait for the problem to get bigger, then we will have to lockdown for months. That is the most catastrophic thing that could happen in our country if that happens in the 4th quarter,” ani Concepcion.

Una nang ipinahayag ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa kaniyang huling State of the Nation Address na kung kinakailangangan ay magpapatupad muli ng lockdown ang pamahalaan dahil sa banta ng Delta variant

Patuloy ang pakiusap ng mga awtoridad sa publiko na maging responsable, huwag magpakampante at magpabakuna na upang makaiwas sa mas mabagsik na Delta COVID-19 variant. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)


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