DOH detects 6 cases of South African variant of COVID-19, 30 new cases of UK variant
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday recorded six cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 in the Philippines, as well as 30 new cases of the United Kingdom variant.
“Of the six South African variant cases, three are local cases, two are returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs), and one case is still being verified as to location,” the DOH said in a statement.
The DOH added that the three local cases of the South African variant were reported as residents of Pasay City, and whose samples were collected on Jan. 27 and Feb. 13.
“Two of the local cases, a 61-year-old female and a 39-year-old male, are active cases being managed by Pasay City. The third local case, a 40-year-old male, has already recovered,” the DOH said.
“On the other hand, the two ROFs arrived in the country from UAE and Qatar; their statuses are currently being verified. Moreover, the DOH is currently verifying if the sixth case is a local case or an ROF,” the DOH added.
According to the DOH, there are 48 countries with reported cases of the B.1.351 variant.
“While there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease, the pattern of mutations within this variant suggests higher transmissibility and may have an impact on vaccine efficacy,” the DOH said.
It was on only on Monday when the Philippines started its vaccination rollout after receiving 600,000 doses of Sinovac’s vaccine from the Chinese government.
30 new UK variant cases
Aside from six cases of the South African variant, the DOH also reported 30 new cases of the B.1.1.7 variant that originated from the UK.
This brings the total cases of the UK variant to 87.
Of the 30 new cases, 20 cases are ROFs, three are local cases, and seven are currently being verified if these are local cases or ROFs, the DOH said.
The DOH added the 20 ROFs entered the Philippines from the Middle East, Singapore, and the United States between Jan. 20 and Feb. 16. Thirteen of them are asymptomatic, while seven have now recovered, the DOH added.
On the other hand, three new UK variant cases are from the Cordillera Administrative Region.
“One case is currently active and is admitted to a hospital, one has recovered, and one is a reported fatality. The linkage of the 3 local cases to previously reported B.1.1.7 variant cases in the region is currently being investigated,” the DOH said of the three cases.
2 new ‘mutations of concern’
The DOH also reported two new cases of the N501Y and E484K mutations, dubbed as “mutations of concern” reported in Region 7.
However, the DOH added that the total cases of such mutations remains at 34 as two cases were delisted upon further verification.
Dr. Cynthia Saloma, executive director of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC), earlier said that the E484K mutation is also found in the South African variant while the N501Y is in the UK variant.
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