COVID variants spreading
The Philippine Star|March 06, 2021
52 more S. African, 31 UK variant cases, 42 other mutations – DOH
EDITH REGALADO and SHEILA CRISOSTOMO

DAVAO CITY – Fifty-two more cases of the South African variant and 31 new cases of the United Kingdom variant have been detected among COVID-19 patients in the country, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said yesterday.

Duque revealed the updated tally of new variant cases of COVID-19 during the press briefing here at the Southern Philippines Medical Center, following the ceremonial rollout of the Sinovac jabs in Mindanao.

He said the latest cases of the new COVID-19 variants were detected by the Philippine Genome Center (PGC), which also reported 42 more “mutations of potential clinical significance.”

“Samples comprising this run came from the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Visayas and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) in response to the increased number of cases in these areas,” the DOH said in a statement.

Speaking of the South African variant, B.1.351, the DOH said 41 of the 52 new cases have “indicative addresses in NCR or Metro Manila,” while 11 cases are “being verified if these are local cases or ROFs.”

One case from NCR has recovered, while the remaining 51 cases are still tagged as active and being managed.

In total, there are now 58 COVID South African variant cases in the country – 55 of them active and the other three have died.

Duque has maintained that this variant is not as contagious as the more widespread strain of COVID-19, so it does not impact the efficiency of the vaccination program.

On the other hand, the DOH said that 28 of the 31 new UK variant cases also indicated NCR as their addresses while three cases are being verified if local or ROFs. All 31 are active cases.

This brings to 118 the total number of UK variant cases in the country – 39 of them active, two of them recovered and 77 dead.

42 new mutations

The DOH said that out of the 42 new COVID-19 cases with “mutations of potential clinical significance,” 34 have indicative addresses in Central Visayas.

Six of them came from NCR, while two cases were being verified if they are local transmissions of COVID-19 or ROFs.

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