MANILA, June 26 (Mabuhay) — An expert from the UP National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Saturday said no local cases of COVID-19 Delta variant have been detected in the country so far.

At the Laging Handa public briefing, UP – NIH executive director Dr. Eva Maria dela Paz said the 17 cases of Delta variant reported in the country were foreign travelers.

“Lahat sila ay galing sa incoming international travelers. Wala pa pong tayong naitalang local cases as of our last sequencing,” Dela Paz said.

Dela Paz said the Delta variant of the coronavirus is 60% more transmissible compared to Alpha variant, which is already 40% more transmissible than the regular variant of COVID-19.

Those who are infected by the Delta variant have more severe conditions, she added.

According to Dela Paza, its was reported that vaccines from AstraZeneca and Pfizer are still effective as protection against the COVID-19 at around 60 to 80% with two doses.

The Delta variant is causing a surge in new COVID-19 cases even in countries with high vaccination rates, while experts warn that immunization campaigns are in a race against time to contain it.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the highly-contagious variant is a concern around the world.

“Globally, there is currently a lot of concern about the Delta variant — and WHO is concerned about it too,” he said.

“As some countries ease public health and social measures, we are starting to see increases in transmission around the world,” he added.(MNS)

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