Philippines detects 83 more cases of coronavirus variants first seen in UK, South Africa

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Philippines detects 83 more cases of coronavirus variants first seen in UK, South Africa
This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab. Image captured and colorized at NIAID's Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:15 p.m.) — Philippine health authorities reported Friday the detection of a total of 83 additional cases of the more infectious coronavirus variants first seen in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Of these, 52 are infected with B.1.351, or the variant first identified in South Africa. Meanwhile, 31 are infected with B.1.1.7 or the variant that originated in the UK.

In a statement, the Department said samples came from Metro Manila, Central Visayas and returning overseas Filipinos. 

“Of the 52 cases who tested positive for the B.1.351 variant, 41 have indicative addresses in National Capital Region, while 11 cases are being verified if these are local cases or ROFs,” the DOH said. 

One case from Metro Manila has recovered, while the remaining 51 cases are currently tagged as active and are being managed.

The country confirmed the detection of the variant first seen in South Africa Tuesday, a day after the government launched its vaccination campaign against COVID-19 with Sinovac shots donated by the Chinese government. 

The B.1.351 variant carries a mutation called N501Y, which is also present in the B.1.1.7 variant. It also carries another mutation called E484K, which may help the virus dodge some kinds of antibodies.

The department earlier said that while there is no evidence the variant from South Africa causes more severe disease, it “may have an impact on vaccine efficacy.” It said it is targeting a “fast containment” of the said variant. 

The World Health Organization stands by the use of AstraZeneca vaccine after a preliminary study suggested the jab offered less protection against B.1.351, its representative to the Philippines said Thursday. 

Some 487,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine obtained through the COVAX Facility arrived in the country Thursday night. Its rollout is expected to “start immediately,” testing czar Vince Dizon said in an interview with CNN Philippines. 

More cases of UK variant

Of the 31 additional cases of the variant first detected in the UK, the DOH said 28 have indicative addresses in Metro Manila. The locations of the other three cases are still being verified. 

All of them are active cases. 

The agency also reported the detection of 42 cases “with mutations of potential clinical significance” or those found with N501Y and E484K mutations. 

Of these, 34 cases are from Central Visayas—with 22 already recovered from the disease—and six patients have indicative address in Metro Manila. Authorities are checking if the remaining two are local cases or ROFs. 

The cases from Metro Manila and the two that are still being verified are tagged as active cases. 

“Everyone is reminded of their individual responsibilities to follow the minimum public health standards at all times and in all settings. The conscious effort of properly wearing a mask and face shield, and observing physical distancing will keep you and everyone around you protected from COVID-19,” the DOH said. 

To date, the Philippines has recorded over 584,000 COVID-19 cases, including more than 12,000 deaths.


As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: July 22, 2021 - 1:41pm

A thread on new variants of SARS-CoV-2 reported in the Philippines.

July 22, 2021 - 1:41pm

The Department of Health announces the detection of 12 new local cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, bringing the total to 47. Six from Central Luzon, three from Metro Manila, two from Calabarzon and one from Bicol Region.

All Delta cases have been tagged as recovered, but their outcomes are being validated by our regional and local health offices. — Christian Deiparine

July 16, 2021 - 11:05am

The Department of Health says it has confirmed 16 cases of the Delta variant in the Philippines. Of those case, 11 are considered local transmissions.

May 30, 2021 - 5:13pm

Another nine UK variant cases of COVID19 were detected in Kalinga prompting the Kalinga Provincial Health Office to reiterate to the public to maintain vigilance and strictly compliance to health protocols.

According to the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit of the Center for Health Development Cordillera, the newly identified cases were from the five towns, one each from Rizal, Pasil, Tanudan and Lubuagan. Four cases meanwhile were detected in Kalinga's capital, Tabuk City.

Kalinga has logged a total of 19 UK variant cases since it got into the country last January 2021. —  The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 29, 2021 - 3:37pm

The Department of Health announces new cases of the following variants detected in the Philippines:

  • 1 B.1.617.2 (Indian) variant,
  • 104 B.1.1.7 (UK) variant
  • 137 B.1.351 (South Africa) variant,
  • 4 P.3 variant
May 15, 2021 - 5:41pm

The Department of Health records an additional 10 cases of B.1.617.2 or the variant first detected in India. As of this writing, 12 cases of this variant have been detected in the Philippines. 

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