THE Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday, May 15, 2021, announced 10 more coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases caused by the more transmissible B.1.617.2 variant.
Including the first two cases announced on May 11, there are now 12 cases with the B.1.617.2 sub-lineage of the Sars-CoV-2 variant that was first detected in India.
The 10 additional B.1.617.2 cases were among 30 cases found to carry variants of concern (VOC). Another case was found to carry the P.3 variant, a variant of interest first reported in the Philippines.
Aside from the 10 additional B.1.617.2 and one P.3 cases, DOH also reported 13 additional B.1.1.7 variant cases and seven B.1.351 variant cases.
These were found among the latest batch of 37 samples sequenced by the University of the Philippines - Philippine Genome Center (PGC).
The samples were collected from crew members of MV Athens Bridge, returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) with relevant travel history, and deceased severe or critical COVID-19 cases.
Of the 10 additional B.1.617.2 cases, one is a seafarer who traveled from Belgium via United Arab Emirates and nine are crew members of MV Athens Bridge, the ship that should refuge in the country after 12 of its Filipino crew fell ill with Covid-19.
The seafarer from Belgium arrived in the Philippines on April 24, 2021, and completed his isolation period on May 13, 2021.
Four MV Athens Bridge crew with the new variant are admitted in a hospital while five are in an isolation facility.
Samples from three coronavirus-positive crew members were not eligible for genome sequencing, but they remained in an isolation facility.
Of the 13 additional B.1.1.7 variant cases, three cases are returning overseas Filipinos while 10 are local cases. One died while 12 recovered. The B.1.1.7 lineage was first announced in the United Kingdom.
Of the seven additional B.1.351 variant cases, two cases are ROFs, two are local cases, and three cases are under verification. One also died, four recovered and two are active cases. The B.1.351 emerged in South Africa.
The additional P.3 variant case is a local case with an address in Zamboanga Peninsula. The patient died on February 28, 2021. (HDT / SunStar Philippines)