The Philippines health ministry has recorded on Friday the first locally transmitted cases of the more contagious Delta coronavirus variant, with one person dying from the disease.
Of the 16 new COVID-19 cases found to have contracted the Delta variant, 11 were tagged as locally acquired cases, health undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a news conference.
One person had died after being rushed to a hospital in the capital Manila on June 28, Vergeire said.
Five of those who tested positive were Filipinos returning from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the United Kingdom.
Philippine authorities have been struggling to curb the variant from spreading in the community after it has triggered an upsurge in infections across the region.
The variant, first detected in India, has been blamed as the key factor for the spike in cases in neighboring countries including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.