MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday 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) which included samples from the crew members of the MV Athens Bridge, returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) with relevant travel history, and deceased severe or critical COVID-19 cases.
The DOH reported the detection of ten (10) B.1.617.2 (India) variant cases, thirteen (13) B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom) variant cases, seven (7) B.1.351 (South Africa) variant cases, and one (1) P.3 (Philippines) variant case among the thirty-seven (37) samples sequenced last May 14, 2021.
B.1.617.2 VARIANT CASES:
Of the 10 new B.1.617.2 variant cases, one is a seafarer who came from Belgium and the other nine are crew members of MV Athens Bridge.
The DOH said, the seafarer disembarked in Belgium and flew back to Manila via the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He arrived in the Philippines on a flight last April 24, 2021 and has completed his isolation period last May 13, 2021.
Meanwhile, four of the nine crew members remain admitted at a hospital in Manila and are currently in stable condition while the other five are currently in an isolation facility.
These 10 B.1.617.2 variant cases are in addition to the first two cases previously reported last May 11, bringing the total to 12.
The DOH reiterates that all of the close contacts of the first two cases of B.1.617.2, have completed the prescribed 14-day quarantine and have been discharged from their quarantine facility.
Of the three initially reported COVID-19 positive cases that are close contacts of the 2nd case in the plane, one was sent for sequencing but was not detected to harbor a variant of concern (VOC).
B.1.1.7 VARIANT CASES:
Of the 13 new B.1.1.7 variant cases detected, three (3) are ROFs and 10 are local cases. Based on the case line list, one case has died while 12 have been tagged as recovered.
B.1.351 VARIANT CASES:
Out of the additional seven B.1.351 variant cases, two (2) are ROFs, two (2) are local cases, and three (3) cases are currently being verified if they are local or ROF cases. Based on the case line list, two cases are still active while one has died and four have recovered.
P.3 VARIANT CASES:
The new P.3 variant case is a local case with an address in Region IX. The case died last February 28, 2021.
At present, the P.3 variant is not identified as a variant of concern. This variant is currently being investigated and information continually collected to determine its public health implication.
Amid implementation of stricter border control measures, the DOH reminded the public anew to observe minimum public health standards and immediately get vaccinated when it’s their turn.
The agency said, strict adherence to these measures can prevent infection and further mutation of COVID-19.
“A low transmission rate means fewer chances for the virus to mutate,” the DOH said.