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DOH detects additional COVID variant cases

A total of 46 additional B.1.1.7 variant cases, 62 more B.1.351 variant cases, and six additional P.3 variant cases were detected in the 11th batch of specimens submitted to the Whole Genome Sequencing, Department of Health (DOH), University of the Philippines (UP) – Philippine Genome Center, and UP – National Institutes of Health.

They were among the 150 samples, mostly from National Capital Region (NCR) laboratories, sent for investigation and verification.

The agencies emphasized in a statement released Saturday that the P.3 variant is still not identified as a variant of concern.

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

Of the additional 46 B.1.1.7 variant cases, 36 are local cases from the NCR, two are from returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs), and the other eight are still being verified.

Only one has recovered so far, based on data released on Friday.

It brought the total number of B.1.1.7 cases in the country to 223.

The two ROFs indicated their addresses as Cagayan Valley and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Of the 62 B.1.351 variant cases, 43 are local cases and 19 are being verified if they are local or ROF cases. A total of 60 are still active and two have recovered.

The total number of B.1.351 cases in the country is now at 152. Of the 43 local cases, 41 are from NCR and two are from Calabarzon.

As for the P.3 variant’s six additional cases that are still active, four are local cases (all from the NCR) and two are being verified if they are local cases or from ROFs.

The DOH urges the public to stay at home unless extremely necessary and remember to avoid the three Cs: Closed spaces, Crowded places, and Close-contact settings.

“This Holy Week, avoid large congregations and practice religious activities at home. Strict adherence to the minimum public health standards in all private and public settings can minimize Covid-19 transmission and avoid further mutations,” it added. (PR)

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