More than 200 of the nearly 500 COVID-19 variant cases in the Philippines are in the National Capital Region (NCR), and all cities in the region have already recorded it, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.
“Talagang nakita na natin itong mga variants nasa lahat na ng cities dito sa atin sa Metro Manila… Meron na tayo either the UK variant or the South African variant,” said DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.
The UK and South African COVID-19 variants are both said to be more contagious and may cause more infections.
The DOH has not yet released a detailed record of how many variant cases are in each city in NCR.
The Philippines currently has 223 UK variant cases, 152 South African variant cases, a Brazil variant, and 104 P.3 variant cases. In these cases, most have recovered although there are more than 100 cures.
But it is not yet sure if it is widespread or if there is already community transmission of variants in the country.
“Kami ay humihingi ng tulong sa WHO (World Health Organization) para sila ang makapagbigay ng guidance and confirmation [if] there really is local transmission or community transmission of these variants,” said Vergeire.
Different COVID-19 variants detected in all cities of Metro Manila – DOH
The Philippine Genome Center said Sunday said the P.3 COVID-19 variant first detected in the Philippines developed locally and was more infectious.
“Sa palagay ko, masasabi natin (In my opinion, we can say) it’s really a local variant kasi (because) it’s really a local variant of origin. We have not seen that in the 600,000 deposits in the database. So, we believe that it developed locally,” PGC executive director Cynthia Saloma told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
“Ang magandang nakikita natin sa lahat ng variants of concern, parang wala namang nakikitang increased pathogenicity… Parang hindi lumalala ‘yung symptoms, hindi siya nakamamatay kung hindi ka naman immunocompromised,” she added.
“‘Pag sinabing pathogenicity, nagiging severe ang symptoms. Parang wala naman tayong nakikita, kahit sa tatlong variants of concern – P.1, B.1.1.7, and B.1.351. Wala naman din silang association sa pagiging mas malala ‘yung sintoma.”