MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said it has detected more cases of covid-19 variants in the country.
This was based on the latest whole-genome sequencing report of the Philippine Genome Center and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH).
The DOH said that from the 744 samples sequenced last week, additional 289 B.1.1.7 variant cases (United Kingdom), 380 B.1.351 (South Africa) variant cases, and 9 P.3 (Philippines) variant cases were detected.
Of the new B.1.1.7 variant cases, 48 are Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs), 185 are local cases, while 56 cases are still being verified.
Based on the case line list, 3 cases remain active while 2 have died and 284 have recovered, the DOH said.
Of the 380 new B.1.351 variant cases, 107 cases are ROFs, 196 are local cases, and 77 cases are still under verification. The DOH said that based on the case line list, one case is still active and 379 cases have been tagged as recovered.
Out of the nine new P.3 variant cases, 3 are ROFs, 4 are local cases, and 2 cases are being verified if they are local or ROF cases. Based on the case line list, all 9 cases have recovered, the agency said.
“B.1.351 is the most common variant among the samples sequenced with assigned lineages, contrary to reports that it is now the dominant variant in the country,” the DOH said in a statement.
It also reiterated that the P.3 variant, which was first reported in the Philippines, is still not identified as a variant of concern since current data is insufficient to determine whether the variant will have significant public health implications.
The DOH said that a total of 7,167 samples have been sequenced so far, and out of those with assigned lineages, 18.2% tested positive for B.1.351, 16.0% had B.1.1.7, 2.7% were found with the P.3, while 0.03% had the P.1 variant.
To complement the intensified vaccination activities, the DOH calls on the public to strictly and consistently adhere to the minimum public health standards to minimize the risk of exposure and infection.