10 more India variant cases detected in PH
MANILA, Philippines — Ten new cases of the B.1.617.2 variant of COVID-19, which originated in India, have been detected in the country.
Also detected were 13 new United Kingdom, or B.1.1.7 variant cases; seven South Africa, or B.1.351 variant cases; and one Philippines or P.3 variant case.
The new variant cases totaling 31 were reported in a joint statement by the Department of Health (DOH), the University of the Philippines’ Philippine Genome Center (PGC) and National Institutes of Health.
The cases were detected in 37 DNA samples which the PGC sequenced on Friday.
Two initial cases
“The latest sequencing run included the 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 statement said.
Apart from the 10 new India variant cases, there were two initial cases detected last week.
This brings the total number of India variant cases to 12, although the two initial cases—both seafarers from the Middle East—have since recovered.
But three out of 32 close contacts of one of the two cases, a 58-year-old ROF from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have tested positive for COVID-19, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire disclosed on Saturday.
Of this ROF’s 29 other contacts, all but one have tested negative. Vergeire said the DOH is trying to verify the data of that one remaining contact.
The second of the two initial India variant cases is a 37-year-old ROF from Oman who was found to have six close contacts in the plane ride home.
Vergeire said three of those contacts have tested negative. The DOH is still trying to locate the other three.
Of the 10 new India variant cases, nine are crew members of MV Athens Bridge, which has a travel history to India. The ship docked at Sangley Point in Cavite on May 7.
The DOH said four remain in hospital confinement but are in stable condition, and five are at an isolation facility.
The tenth case is a seafarer who came from Belgium, stopped over at the UAE before returning to the Philippines on April 24. He was placed on isolation, which ended on Thursday.
The DOH said of the 13 new UK variant cases, one had died and the 12 others had recovered.
Of the seven new South Africa variant cases, one has died, two are still active and four have recovered, the health department said.
The lone Philippines variant case, who hails from the Zamboanga Peninsula, died on Feb. 28, the DOH said.
The DOH reminded the public that in order to control mutations, the country must keep new infections down.
Virus case update
In the statement, the department said it “urges the public to strictly adhere to the minimum public health standards and immediately get vaccinated when it’s their turn. By following these measures, infection and further mutation of COVID-19 can be prevented.”
The DOH on Saturday recorded 6,739 new COVID-19 infections, which brought the total number of cases to 1,138,187.
The death toll from the virus is now 19,051, with 93 fatalities recorded in the department’s latest daily case bulletin.
There are 56,709 active cases, of which the majority, or 93.4 percent are mild, 2.2 percent are asymptomatic, 1.4 percent are critical, 1.9 percent are severe and 1.17 percent are moderate.
Meanwhile, 8,952 have recovered, bringing the total number of survivors to 1,062,427.
Saturday also marked the return of the general community quarantine level over the National Capital Region and the surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
—WITH A REPORT FROM LEILA B. SALAVERRIA
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