MANILA – Health authorities have detected 97 additional cases of the more transmissible Delta variant, first detected in India, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Thursday.

In a statement, the DOH said the country’s total number of Delta cases is 216.

Eighty-eight of the new Delta variant cases were local cases, six were returning overseas Filipinos (ROF), and three are being verified if they are local or ROF cases.

Of the six ROFs, two were seafarers of MT Clyde and Barge Claudia, currently anchored off in Albay, and four were from crew members of the MV Vega from Indonesia.

Ninety-four cases have been tagged as recovered and three were fatalities.

Aside from the Delta variant, also detected were cases of Alpha variant, 83; Beta variant,127; and Theta variant, 22, based on the latest whole-genome sequencing report by the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center, and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health.

The DOH said it is coordinating with the respective local government units to determine more information -- exposure and vaccination status of the cases.

Meantime, of the new 83 Alpha variant cases detected, about 58 were local cases, while 25 are being verified as either local or ROF cases.

Based on the case line list, 70 cases have died while the outcome of 13 cases are being verified.

To date, the country has now 1,858 Alpha variant cases, which was first detected in the UK.

For the 127 Beta variant cases, 87 were local cases and 40 cases are being verified as either local or ROF cases.

Based on the case line list, one remains active, 86 have been tagged as recovered, and the outcome of 29 cases are being verified.

The total Beta variant cases are now at 2,146.

Seven of the 22 P.3 variant cases were local cases, and 15 cases are being verified as either local or ROF case.

All seven local cases have been tagged as recovered while the outcome of the 15 cases are being verified.

While the P.3 variant has been reclassified as “alert for further monitoring”, it is still being investigated and information are continually collected to monitor its public health implication.

Health authorities urged the public to strictly adhere to stricter minimum public health standards and continue to avoid enclosed spaces and mass gatherings with the detection of local cases with the Delta variant and other variants of concern.

The DOH stressed the importance of vaccinating priority groups A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with underlying conditions) since they are at high risk for severe Covid-19 and death. (PNA)