Even with the highly transmissible and dominant Delta variant, the Philippines has controlled the rise in number of coronavirus cases with a better healthcare systems in place, a health official said Monday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government was expecting “a lot of cases” when the Delta variant was first detected in July, taking into consideration how it ravaged India and other nations with record number of cases and deaths.
“We were expecting talaga na tayo ay magkakaroon ng sobrang taas ng kaso, tayo ay mao-overwhelm, tayo ay magkakaroon ng maraming pagkamatay pero hindi natin naabot ang projected number of cases, hindi natin naabot ‘yung overwhelmed health systems although nahirapan po talaga tayo (We were expecting a high number of cases, that we would get overwhelmed, more deaths. But we didn’t reach the projected number of cases and overwhelmed health systems, although we had difficulties),” Vergeire said in an online media briefing.
She described the situation as a “challenge” but Vergeire said the government was able to reduce the number of cases in one and a half months after the first cases of the Delta variant was detected and the cases spiked after the period September 5 to 11.
Vergeire was reacting to reports stating that it was “premature” for National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. to say that the government has “defeated” the Delta variant.
“I think ‘yun ang konteksto ni Secretary Galvez. Hindi naman natin sinasabi natalo na natin ang Delta dahil ang Delta sa atin, 9 out of 10 sequenced here in the country are all Delta variants. Pero ang pinakamaganda, we were able to control, we were able to reduce the number of cases at naiayos natin ang health system natin and that is what’s most important to us (I think that was the context of Secretary Galvez. We are not saying we have defeated the Delta variant because 9 out of 10 of sequenced samples are all Delta variants. But what is good is that we were able to control and reduce the number of cases and we were able to fix the health system),” Vergeire said.
During the imposition of an enhanced community quarantine in the National Capital Region (NCR) in July, the government further ramped up its vaccination program nationwide while it restricted public movement.
Coronavirus cases in the country started to see a significant decline this month, with only 4,405 new infections recorded as of October 25 from a high of over 26,000 cases in September.
The total number of active cases nationwide is 57,763, a drop from Sunday’s 60,957.
The decline in number of cases prompted officials to ease movement restrictions in the NCR which is now under Alert Level 3.
More Delta variant cases detected
Another 380 cases of the Delta variant have been recorded nationwide.
Vergeire said a total of 746 samples were collected in March, April, September and up to October 22.
Of the samples collected and sequenced, about 380 or 50.94 percent were Delta variant cases, 104 or 13.94 percent were Alpha variant cases, and 166 or 22.25 percent were Beta variant cases.
The new logged variant cases pushed the total Delta variant cases to 4,811; Beta variant cases, 3,479; and Alpha variant cases, 3,042.
A total of 17,893 samples have been sequenced and 88.76 percent or 15,882 were listed with lineages as of October 24.
“Incoming international travelers comprise 1,169 or 6.63 percent [samples sequenced for variants],” Vergeire said.
All regions and all cities and municipalities in the National Capital Region either have Alpha or Beta variants detected.
The Delta variant, initially detected from returning overseas Filipinos, is now detected in all 17 regions and all NCR cities and lone municipality.
Meantime, the P.3 variant, which was initially observed in only one region in the country, is now detected in all regions. (Ma. Teresa Montemayor/PNA)