The Department of Health’s Western Visayas Center for Health Development has asked Antique province to immediately identify the close contacts of two confirmed local cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant.

Local Health Support Division Chief Dr. Ma. Sophia Pulmones said on July 17 that once close contacts were identified, they must be isolated in a designated quarantine facility.

“We are still coordinating with the local government unit kung ilan na ba talaga ang nagawa nilang contact tracing sa mga considered as close contacts ng dalawang Delta variant positive cases. The recommendation kasi is to do up to the third generation close contact but ‘yong priority talaga is ‘yong naka-close contact talaga nila and then ‘yong nag-exhibit ng symptoms,” Pulmones said in a televised government briefing.

(We are still coordinating with the local government unit about how many have been contact-traced to those considered as close contacts of the two Delta variant positive cases. The recommendation is to do up to the third generation close contact but the priority is the close contacts which exhibited symptoms.)

Other recommended actions were to increase detection of Covid-19 cases, conduct quarantine and Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing for close contacts, as well as intensify border controls, Pulmones said.

The two confirmed Delta variant cases detected in the municipality of Pandan in Antique province have no history of travel outside the country and were unvaccinated against Covid-19, the health official said.

Case No. 34 was a 78-year-old female who died last May 31, while Case No. 35 was a 79-year-old male who had completed the mandatory 14-day-quarantine and was tagged as recovered on June 13. They tested positive for Covid-19 on May 29. Authorities got the genomic sequencing report on July 16.

As of July 15, 357 Covid-19 samples from Region 6 were sent to the Philippine Genome Center of the University of the Philippines for sequencing, Pulmones said.

Pulmones said the case upsurge in Antique was possibly due to the Delta variant which was 40-60 percent more transmissible, though they were also looking at the Alpha and Beta variants as causes.

Antique province is under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” until July 31. Jelo Ritzhie Mantaring