The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday confirmed the death of a Delta variant case from Antique and clarified that another case detected in Taguig was not a local infection.
In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the fatality from Antique was a 78-year-old unvaccinated female with no travel history. She was among the 11 recently detected local cases of the Delta variant.
“Among these local cases meron pong dalawang namatay, ang isa po ay from Pandacan, Manila at ang isa naman po ay from Antique (There were two deaths: one from Pandacan, Manila and another from Antique),” Vergeire said.
She added that the fatality from Antique had a partner who recovered from COVID-19.
In a message to reporters, Vergeire said the death toll due to the Delta variant has climbed to three, including:
- a 63-year-old male returning overseas Filipino from MV Athens who died on May 19
- a 78-year-old female local from Baybay, Antique who died on May 30
- a 58-year-old local from Pandacan who died on June 28
Vergeire said contact tracing and further studies are underway to determine how the local cases caught the Delta variant despite having no travel history.
The health official also assured the public that experts had said that it was “improbable” that the coronavirus mutated locally into the Delta variant.
“Most probably and what our experts are saying, the assumption would be galing pa rin po sa labas ng bansa at nakapasok dito [the variant still came from outside and entered the country],” Vergeire said.
“Mukhang nagkaroon tayo ng mga (It seems that we had) breaches in [quarantine] protocol,” she added.
The Philippines has so far detected 35 cases of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Vergeire said that aside from three fatalities, all Delta cases have recovered.
“We are going back to these specific individuals to check on them, to quarantine them again and to test them again,” she said.
No local Taguig case
Meanwhile, Vergeire clarified that the Delta variant case detected in Taguig was not a local infection.
The local government earlier announced that a Delta variant case was detected in the city.
“Wala po tayong na-detect na local case sa Taguig. What the city of Taguig was mentioning was a returning overseas Filipino na na-detect-an ng variant at ang kanyang permanent residence is in Taguig,” Vergeire said.
(We have not detected a local case in Taguig. What the city of Taguig was mentioning was a returning overseas Filipino who was found to have the variant and whose permanent residence is in Taguig.)
The Taguig government, in a press statement, said the “single and isolated” Delta variant case recorded there was “never able to set foot” in the city while he was infected with the highly contagious variant.
“The patient was not released from quarantine until he recovered, and was never able to set foot in Taguig when he was still infected with the virus,” it said.
As these develop, independent research group OCTA Research urges the government to reimpose the bubble policy over Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal -- or NCR Plus -- as well as restrictions on children amid the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant.
According to Corinne Catibayan's report on Unang Balita on Monday, OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David said a bubble policy would allow economic activity in Metro Manila to continue unhampered and eliminate the need for a tighter lockdown classification.
“The last time we had a bubble sa NCR Plus, no’ng nagka-surge tayo, this was to keep our neighboring provinces safe from the virus and it was effective naman, hindi masyado kumalat ‘yung surge,” he said.
(The last time we had a bubble in NCR Plus, when we had a surge, this was to keep our neighboring provinces safe from the virus and it was effective, the surge didn’t spill over.)
Vergeire, meanwhile, said the DOH would convene with experts on Monday to “discuss the status of NCR Plus.” —KBK, GMA News