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114 new cases of various coronavirus variants detected in Philippines

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
114 new cases of various coronavirus variants detected in Philippines
People line up at the parking lot turned emergency room waiting area of the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City on March 18, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine health authorities announced Saturday that they have detected 114 new cases of three different coronavirus variants, including two considered as variants of concern.

Of these new cases, 46 are infected with the variant first identified in the United Kingdom known as B.1.1.7, 62 are infected with the variant first seen in South Africa known as B.1.351 and six are infected with the variant first detected in the Philippines known as P.3.

The total number of B.1.1.7 cases in the Philippines is now at 223, while the total number of B.1.351 cases is 152, and the total number of P.3 cases is 104.

The B.1.1.7 and the B.1.351 variants are classified as variants of concern due to their increased risk to human health.

Both variants carry the N501Y mutation, which is associated with increased transmissibility, while B.1.351 carries the E484K mutation, which may help the virus dodge some antibodies.

The P.3 variant carries both mutations, but the DOH said it is still not considering it a variant of concern.

“Current available data are insufficient to conclude whether the variant will have significant public health implications,” the DOH said.

Stay home

The new cases of these variants were detected from a batch of 150 samples mostly collected from labs in Metro Manila, the Department of Health said.

With the detection of these new cases, the DOH advised the public against going out of their homes unless “extremely necessary.”

It also said the public should avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close contact settings.

It also discouraged attending large church services during the coming Holy Week and instead practice religious activities at home.

The detection of more cases of coronavirus variants came as the country faces a shocking surge in COVID-19 cases after the government pushed to loosen restrictions further.

On Friday, the country saw its highest ever single-day tally of COVID-19 cases, with the DOH reporting 7,103 new cases of the viral respiratory disease.

Cases breakdown 

B.1.1.7 cases

  • 36 local cases from Metro Manila
  • Two returning overseas Filipinos
    • One is from Cagayan Valley, while the other one is from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
  • Eight being verified whether they are local cases or returning overseas Filipinos.
  • All new patients with this variant except for one are still active cases, or are being managed in quarantine facilities or hospitals.

B.1.351 cases

  • 43 local cases
    • 41 from Metro Manila
    • Two from Calabarzon
  • 19 being verified whether they are local cases or returning overseas Filipinos.
  • All new patients with this variant except for two are still active cases.

P.3 cases

  • Four local cases from Metro Manila
  • Two being verified whether they are local cases of returning overseas Filipinos
  • All new patients with this variant are active cases.

COVID-19 VARIANT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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