Philippines logs 6 cases of South African coronavirus variant

The Department of Health (DOH) reported on Tuesday that six 6 cases of South African coronavirus variant were detected in the Philippines.

“The DOH, the UP-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the UP-National Institutes of Health report the detection of six B.1.351 variant (South Africa variant) cases, 30 additional B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant) cases, and two additional cases with mutations of interest among the 8th batch of 350 samples sequenced by the UP-PGC,” it said.

Of the six South African coronavirus variants, two are returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs), three were local, and one case is still for verification.

Three of the local South African variant cases are all residents of Pasay city. The 61-year-old female and a 39-year-old male remain active while a 40-year-old male already recovered from the disease.

The DOH said the samples were collected between January 27 and February 13.

Health experts took more samples from Pasay City were taken for genome sequencing after the city logged a spike in -19 transmission.

Meanwhile, the South African coronavirus variant cases were returning from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. DOH still verifies the status of the two.

According to Pfizer, its vaccine could protect an individual from the United Kingdom and South African variants, but some researches suggest that the South African variant makes vaccines less effective.

Philippines logs 6 cases of South African coronavirus variant

Other evidence also suggests that the South African variant is more infectious than the UK variant.

Meanwhile, the DOH also recorded 30 new UK variant cases, bringing total cases to 87.

Among these new cases, 20 are ROFs, three are local, and seven cases are still being verified.

The 20 ROFs were from the Middle East, Singapore, and the United States between January 20 and February 16. Thirteen of these cases are asymptomatic and active while seven have recovered from -19.

Three of the local cases are from the Cordillera wherein one is hospitalized, one has died, and one has recovered.

“The linkage of the three local cases to previously reported B.1.1.7 variant cases in the region is currently being investigated,” the DOH said.