After announcing that the country has 16 cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) Delta variant, the Department of Health is declaring that the Philippines no longer has active cases from the variant with two of the infected dying and the rest recovering.
” We no longer have any active case. The 33 recovered while two died. As to their vaccination status, we were able to get information that one has been inoculated,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Saturday during a Laging Handa briefing partly in Filipino.
One of the confirmed fatalities was from MV Athens while the other is from Manila.
Vergeire, however, bared that another person from Antique died although the Department of Health (DOH) is still verifying the report.
“We’re verifying the death of a patient in Antique. We are getting the complete information so that we can inform the public. Because that one has not been verified, the death toll from the Delta variant remains at two,” she said partly in Filipino.
The DOH is also conducting “intensive contact tracing” among all individuals who tested positive for the variant to determine if the cases are linked or if the transmission is ongoing.
“To see if this has been contained, we still need to know the results of the contact tracing. We are also looking at doing genome sequencing in those areas with surges to get the whole picture,” she said partly in Filipino.
Vergeire said the country currently uses purposive sampling, where regions select samples from those with a “high index of suspicion” for genome sequencing.
As to the expansion of the entry ban for other countries, she said the DOH would still have to consult the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Based on their last discussion, she said the agreement was to impose “stricter border control” so as not to isolate the country from the rest of the world.
On the other hand, she advised local government units to strengthen their Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate response when tracing active cases.
She also underscored the need to improve the health system capacity by expanding the number of beds in hospitals and by preparing more drugs and other medical supplies facilities might need in case of a surge caused by the more transmissible variant.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, called on the public to take extra precautions to prevent a surge in Covid-19 infections after some areas in the country reverted to the most stringent enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The entire Iloilo province and the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, and Gingoog have been placed under the strictest quarantine classification until July 31.
Eleazar also tasked police personnel manning quarantine control points to be more vigilant and intensify security measures to help curb the spread of the coronavirus and its variants.