MANILA, July 6 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines has not yet detected the Lambda strain of coronavirus that is being compared by experts to the Delta variant as far as transmissibility is concerned, a health official said Tuesday.

Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Department of Health (DOH) is already aware of the Lambda strain that was first detected in Peru in December 2020.

“Hanggang ngayon ay wala pa tayong nadi-detect na ganitong klase ng variant sa bansa [We haven’t detected this variant yet here in our country as of now],” she said.

Citing the World Health Organization (WHO), Vergeire said Lambda is considered a “variant of interest.”

“Ibig sabihin iba po ito dun sa mga variants of concern. Itong variant of interest na ito sabi nila may attributes din na katulad nung sa Delta variant,” she said

Vergeire said there are no studies yet showing that the Lambda variant, although believed to be as transmissible as the Delta and Alpha [UK] variants, can cause a more severe infection.

“So aantayin pa natin ang mga pag-aaral pa further ng WHO [We’ll wait for further studies by WHO],” she said.

Like in the case of the other variants, Vergeire said strict border control is needed to avoid the Lambda variant from entering the country.

So far, some 30 countries have reported cases of the new strain.

On Monday, the DOH said two more cases of the Delta variant were detected in the country, both from returning overseas Filipinos from Saudi Arabia.

These new cases raised the total Delta variant cases in the country to 19.

The health department said there are still no local infections of the Delta variant.

“‘Yung Delta variant are still being detected at our borders. Sa tingin natin ay nagiging maayos ang protocol natin because we are able to capture them sa pagpasok pa lang ng bansa,” Vergeire also said.

“Ang may local transmission lang dito sa bansa would be Alpha and Beta variants,” the DOH official added.

Vergeire thus encouraged continued strict monitoring at points of entry.

“That’s why we are encouraging all local governments with ports of entry to implement a uniform protocol with the national government para tayo ay makapagbantay ng maigi, ma-prevent ang pagpasok nitong Delta variant sa ating mga community,” she said. (MNS)

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