COVID-19 cases may increase 28 times if variants of concern become dominant — DOH | Inquirer News

COVID-19 cases may increase 28 times if variants of concern become dominant — DOH

/ 01:22 PM March 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The number of COVID-19 cases may increase by 28 times in just after a month if the variants of concern (VOCs) become the more dominant variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

Dr. Alethea de Guzman, OIC Director III of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, said that as of now, only 6.6 percent of total sequenced samples in the country were confirmed to be cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom and the B.1.351 variant from South Africa.


“If these become the dominant variants, cases will increase by 28 times instead of just three times after a month,” she said in an online media forum.


“Ayaw natin umabot sa punto na lahat ng samples na nasesequence natin ay mga variants of concern. Kapag ganun po ang nakikita nating pagtaas, hindi lamang three times, four times, pwedeng up to 28 times ‘yung increase na makita natin and that will truly overwhelm our health system,” she added.

(We don’t want to reach a point when all samples we sequence are variants of concern. If we reach that level, the increase of cases will not just be three or four times but 28 times, and that will really overwhelm our health system.)

The country has so far recorded a total of 177 UK variant cases, 90 South African variant cases, and a case of the P.1 variant from Brazil.

Of the total cases of VOCs, 74 are incoming international travelers, composed of returning overseas Filipino workers and one foreign national. De Guzman said the figure represents 27 percent of the variant cases.

According to de Guzman, five regions have so far recorded local cases of the B.1.1.7 variant. These are Metro Manila, the Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), and Northern Mindanao.

Meanwhile, the B.1.351 variant was detected in local samples from Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, and Northern Mindanao.


The country has so far confirmed a total of 631,320 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, composed of 57,736 active cases, 560,736 recoveries, and 12,848 deaths.

The DOH again began reporting over 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 on March 5. The highest additional cases so far this year were logged on March 15 when the health agency reported 5,404 new infections.

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TAGS:  B.1.1.7 variant, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19

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