MANILA – A health official said on Saturday that the Delta variant, first recognized in India, is 40-60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant detected in the UK (UK).
Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also noted that patients infected with the Delta variant are more likely to stay longer in hospitals than those who contracted the other variants.
“The Alpha UK variant is 60% more transmissible, but the Delta variant is 60% more transmissible. It really spreads easily, ”Vergeire said in a televised public briefing.
The first global studies have shown that cases of the Delta variant have higher inflammatory markers, which means that the virus causes severe infection.
Maria Van Kerkhove, technical officer of the World Health Organization (WHO) Covid-19, said in press releases on June 16, 2021 that the Delta variant now accounts for 10% of all new cases in the United States, against 6% the previous week. .
The WHO said some reports have found it to cause more severe symptoms as well, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.
“Like what the WHO has said, we see this as a dominant variant in other countries. In the UK, in-country variants are now 90% Delta variants, which is why they are seeing an increase. ”Said Vergeire.
The UK Department of Health reported more than 11,000 new cases of Covid-19 and 19 deaths on Thursday. Infection rates have increased in all age groups, but are highest in the 20-29 age group.
Vergeire said the Delta variant should not be a cause for alarm if health protocols are applied and adhered to.
She again reminded local government units to implement the PDITR (Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, Reintegrate) response, minimum public health standards and Covid-19 vaccination to prevent the Delta variant from being dominant.
She also stressed the importance of strict border controls in preventing community transmission.
“Ang pinaka-important ngayon is our border control. Kailangan pare-pareho ang pagpapatupad across the regions and is not the basis of the basis of all nasabi ing ating experts, ipatupad natin nang maaayos (Our border control is very important now. Its implementation should be the same in all regions and implement the protocols that we recommended based on the advice of our experts), ”she said.
Border control protocols, she added, have been shown to be effective, as evidenced by the early detection of the Delta variant in 13 Filipinos returning overseas.
As for the aviation industry which could be the first point of contact for Delta variant transmissions, Vergeire advised authorities to ensure their infection control protocols are in place.
In New South Wales, Australia, the Delta variant was detected in a driver who was driving for an airline crew.
“Our demand from other industries, including the aviation industry, they have to work with us. No matter how strict our borders will be if they don’t implement the correct protocols, the threat of variants like this entering our country is always there, ”Vergeire said.
On Friday, Edsel Salvana, a member of the DOH technical advisory group, reported that 13 cases of the Delta variant had been detected in the country, all from returning Filipino travelers.
Salvana said the government’s immediate quarantine protocols for people entering the country helped contain the virus.