THE Philippines is “well-prepared” to combat the more transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, according to National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19.
In a media briefing with experts from the Department of Health (DOH), NTF Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said they have anticipated the arrival of the Delta variant in the country.
“Well prepared na tayo sa Delta. Nakita natin noong nagkaroon ng outbreak sa India that we have to prepare everything in large-scale (We are well prepared against the Delta. We have seen after an outbreak in India that we have to prepare everything in large-scale),” he said Friday, July 16.
“We gave [hospitals] funds to stockpile logistic requirements for patients’ treatment,” he added.
Galvez also assured that they had a “standard operating procedure (SOP)” for dealing with the Delta variant.
“We already have an SOP since we have already encountered a COVID-19 variant before. We in the NTF along with the officials of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) have been called for an emergency conference by the Secretary of Health to conduct visits in concerned local government units with a high number of cases,” he said.
Galvez’s statement came on the same day the DOH reported 16 new cases of the Delta variant, including 11 locally transmitted cases.
“The DOH, Philippine Genome Center and University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health report the detection of 16 new Delta variant cases including the first local cases based on the latest whole genome sequencing report,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online briefing.
“Five of the 16 cases are returning overseas Filipinos (ROF)… Eleven cases are classified as local cases,” she added.
Of the 11 local cases, six were detected in Northern Mindanao and “are part of a large cluster of cases.” All of them have recovered.
Meanwhile, two of the local cases were detected in Metro Manila.
“One case was tagged as death after being rushed to the emergency room of a hospital on June 28. The other case is an outpatient with an onset date of June 23 who was tagged as recovered already,” said Vergeire.
Another local case initially tested in Metro Manila, but according to Vergeire, the patient’s recorded address was in Central Luzon.
Two other cases were detected in Antique in Western Visayas, both with onset of symptoms on May 27 but have already recovered.
“All of these cases have no known connection to each other,” Vergeire said.
As of this writing, the Philippines has confirmed a total of 35 Delta variant cases.