Manila Philippines mask covid
People wearing face masks and face shields as protection from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) queue outside a newly reopened historical site, in Manila, Philippines, February 18, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters

The Philippines has recorded the country's first locally transmitted cases of the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant, the health ministry said on Friday, 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 scrambling to try and stop 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 neigbouring countries including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.