PH confirms six cases of South African COVID-19 variant, 30 additional cases of UK variant

Published March 2, 2021, 8:43 AM

by Analou de Vera

Six cases of the South African variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) virus have been detected in the Philippines. Also, 30 more cases of the United Kingdom variant were found, the Department of Health (DOH) announced on Tuesday, March 2.

Department of Health (DOH) (MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Health (DOH) (MANILA BULLETIN)

The DOH said that of the six cases of  B.1.351 (South Africa variant), three  are local cases, two are returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs), and one case is still being verified as to location. 

“The three local cases were reported as residents of Pasay City, and whose samples were collected between Jan. 27 and Feb.13, 2021. 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,” it added. 

UK variant

Meanwhile, 30 additional cases of the B.1.1.7 (UK variant) were found in the country. The new cases brought the total to 87. 

Of the 30 additional cases with B.1.1.7 variant, twenty  cases are ROFs, three are local cases, and seven are currently being verified if these are local cases or returning overseas Filipinos, the DOH said. 

The DOH noted that five UK variant cases were found to belong in “other variants.”

“Upon submission of the sequencing data of the 62 original B.1.1.7 cases as of last count to the Global Initiative on Sharing of All Influenza Data (GISAID), GISAID reclassified five (5) cases as belonging to other variants,” it noted. 

Cases of mutation

Moreover, the DOH said that two additional cases with mutations of interest were found. 

“Based on the latest sequencing results, two  additional samples from Region 7 were found to have both N501Y and E484K mutations. The DOH also reports that upon further verification, two cases from Region 7, previously reported to have these mutations, have been delisted, thus the total remains at 34 cases,” the DOH noted. 

The DOH reminded the public to strictly observe the minimum public health standards. 

“Despite the arrival of vaccines and the successful initial vaccination activities, the DOH emphasizes that adherence to minimum public health standards is still the best course of action to prevent community transmission and further virus mutations,” the DOH said. 

“The DOH further calls on local government units (LGUs) to immediately implement necessary measures in line with the national PDITR (Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treatment, Reintegration) strategy. LGUs (local government units) are also encouraged to be on heightened alert to monitor, detect, and report unusual spikes in cases in their area, the agency added.