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Philippines logs 1,901 new COVID-19 cases, two virus mutations detected

ANI | Updated: Feb 19, 2021 14:54 IST

Manila [The Philippines], February 19 (ANI/Xinhua): The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines reported on Friday 1,901 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the Southeast Asian country's total tally to 557,058.
The death toll rose to 11,829 after 157 more patients died from the coronavirus epidemic, the DOH said. It added that 537 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 512,789.
The Philippines, which has about 110 million population, has tested over 7.95 million people since the viral disease emerged in January last year.
The Philippines has detected the COVID-19 virus "mutations of potential clinical significance" in samples sequenced last week from the Central Visayas region, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said Friday.
Duque told an online news briefing that health officials have intensified the region's containment measures to prevent transmission.

The DOH has noted a "steep increase" in the number of COVID-19 cases in the central Philippine region. Despite the sharp rise in infections, it said the region's healthcare utilization rate "remains at the safe zone."
Duque said the spike in cases in the region could not be attributed to the mutated virus, adding that other factors may have contributed to the increase in transmission, such as the mobility of the people.
The DOH said that currently available data are insufficient to conclude that the local samples' mutations will significantly impact public health.
"We have not made definitive conclusions as to the potential public health implications of these mutations," Alethea De Guzman of the DOH's Epidemiology Bureau said in an online briefing on Friday.
Philippine Genome Center Executive Director Cynthia Saloma told the same briefing that all the cases in the Central Visayas region with the two mutations of concern have recovered and out of quarantine after exhibiting only mild symptoms.
The DOH said that viruses naturally undergo mutations as they reproduce.
"These mutations accumulate over time and may have varying effects. However, not all mutations and variants necessarily cause negative effects," the DOH said in a statement. (ANI/Xinhua)