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DOH: Philippines detects more cases of coronavirus variants

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said hundreds of additional coronavirus variant cases were detected by the Philippine Genome Center and the University of the Philippines' National Institutes of Health.

The agency said the genome sequencing of 744 samples yielded an additional 380 more B.1.351 (South Africa) variant cases, 289 B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom) variant cases, and nine new cases of the P.3 variant first detected in the Philippines.

These figures bring the totals to 1,075 B.1.351 variant cases, 948 B.1.1.7 cases, 157 P.3 cases, and two cases of the P.1 variant first detected in Brazil.

Among the new B.1.1.7 cases, 48 are returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs), 185 are local cases, while 56 are still under verification.

The DOH said 284 of these patients have recovered from COVID-19, two died, and three cases remain active.

Out of the 380 new B.1.351 variant cases, 107 are ROFs, 196 are local cases, and 77 are still being verified. In the same group, 379 have recovered and one case remains active.

Among the additional P.3 variant cases, three are ROFs, four are local, and two cases are under verification. The DOH said all patients have recovered from COVID-19.

The department stressed that unlike the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1 variants, the P.3 is “still not identified as a variant of concern since current data is insufficient to determine whether the variant will have significant public health implications.”

The DOH said 18.2% out of the 7,167 samples that have been subjected to genome sequencing so far tested positive for the B.1.351 variant, 16% had the B.1.1.7, 2.7% had P.3 and 0.03% had the P.1 variant.

“The DOH calls the public to strictly and consistently adhere to the minimum public health standards to minimize the risk of exposure and infection,” it said in a statement.

The Philippines has logged 1,062,225 COVID-19 cases with 975,234 recoveries and 17,525 deaths as of Monday afternoon. —KBK, GMA News