Mon, 02 Aug 2021

MANILA, June 21 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Monday 5,249 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 1,364,239.

The death toll climbed to 23,749 after 128 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.

The Philippines, which has more than 110 million population, has tested more than 13 million people since the outbreak in January 2020.

The Philippines has detected four additional cases of the more transmissible Delta coronavirus variant first found in India, bringing the total cases in the country to 17, the DOH said on Monday.

The DOH said three of the four cases were detected in the samples taken from returning overseas Filipinos from the MV Eastern Hope, a ship currently docked in South Korea. The fourth case is an overseas Filipino returning from Saudi Arabia on May 24. The patient has recovered and is now under strict home quarantine, the DOH added.

Of the 17 Delta variant patients, one died while the rest have either recovered or are recuperating, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online briefing.

"There is no community transmission of the Delta variant in the country," Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Executive Director Cynthia Saloma said in a televised press conference.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has issued a directive to tighten border control to prevent further entry of the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

Vergeire said that the government is "on heightened alert," adding that "all local governments have been alerted on the need to watch out for the Delta variant across our borders."

The Philippines' ban on travelers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman and the United Arab Emirates is in place until June 30 to prevent the entry of the Delta variant.

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