The World Health Organization (WHO) said that based on recent samples sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center, the more contagious Delta variant in the country is now the dominant variant in the country.
"The Delta variant is now the dominant variant in the Philippines [based on] existing data we are seeing," Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO representative to the Philippines, said in a briefing.
The Delta variant was identified in an alarming 68.98% of the 748 samples recently sequenced.
Abayasinghe also confirmed that there is community transmission of the feared Delta variant which is considered the fastest and fittest form of the virus that causes COVID-19.
"We do know the Delta variant spreads very fast, [is] more transmissible, has a shorter incubation period. So, yes, with this kind of transmission, with this kind of numbers we are in community transmission with Delta variant," Abayasinghe explained in a media briefing on Tuesday (August 31).
The local health department was the first to confirm community transmission in Metro Manila and Calabarzon on August 23. But the department said it needed more data to determine whether there is also community transmission in other parts of the country.
Community transmission occurs when sources of infection are no longer traceable due to huge numbers of cases not linked to transmission chains.
The Delta variant, which was first detected in India, is believed to be as transmissible as chickenpox — with each infected person able to spread the virus to at least eight others.
There are currently 1,789 known cases of the Delta variant in the Philippines, however, the actual number may be much higher because the Philippine Genome Center is only able to sequence a small proportion of cases.
On Monday, the country logged its biggest single-day spike of COVID-19 cases at 22,366 cases, which brought the total infections 1,976,202 since the pandemic began.
Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.
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