The Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed that some people they are examining have tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in connection with a new variant from India.
The news was announced by Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire a few days after it was reported that some Filipinos were being observed for the “more contagious” B.1.617 variant that was first discovered in India – the place where the world’s highest daily cases are recorded.
“As to these Indian travelers that were quarantined upon arrival here, before the restrictions were imposed, 110 po sa kanila ay nagkaroon na ng pagsusuri… anim turned out to be positive and it is now submitted to the Philippine Genome Center for whole genome sequencing,” Vergeire said on Wednesday.
“Meron pong anim na hanggang ngayon ay nilo-locate pa natin out of all these 117.”
The DOH official had earlier said that among those previously quarantined were those who came directly from India, had a “touchpoint” in India, or passed through India in the recent weeks.
6 Filipinos from India test positive for COVID-19
India is the only country where the Philippines has imposed a travel ban for travelers from there due to the historic case surges of the South Asian country. It will end on May 14th.
With the intensity of COVID-19 cases in India, 3,460 new deaths were recorded on Tuesday alone-something that recorded the highest single-day recorded fatalities in the five major states there, according to The Times of India today.
India still has the second most COVID-19 cases in the world at nearly 20.3 million, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) report.
Prior to this, the more infectious “variants of concern” B.1.351, B.1.1.7, and P.1 had already entered. Some of them are also said to reduce the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
“That’s the hope: That we can prevent the entry of specific variants into the country… Kailangan lang natin talagang paigtingin ang border control na kahit na makapasok man ang mga variants na ito, dapat handa tayo,”
“Kailangan lang dapat paalalahanan ang ating mga kababayan na kahit ano pa hong variant ang mero… kailangan lagi ho tayong protektado. So continue on doing the minimum public health standards.”