Manila [Philippines], March 2 (ANI/Sputnik): The first six cases of the coronavirus variant originating in South Africa have been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health said on Tuesday.
"The Department of Health (DOH), the UP-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the UP-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) report the detection of six (6) B.1.351 variant (South Africa variant) cases, thirty (30) additional B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant) cases, and two (2) additional cases with mutations of interest among the 8th batch of 350 samples sequenced by the UP-PGC," the department said in a press release.
Of the six cases, three are local cases, two are imported from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, and the origin of the remaining one case is pending verification, the authority added.
The Philippines has so far confirmed more than 578,000 cases of the coronavirus, including over 12,300 fatalities.
The country on Monday began its mass immunization campaign with the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac.
The South African variant was first detected last October. Like the UK variant, detected approximately at the same time, it has proved to be more transmissible, but data is lacking as to whether it is more deadly or causes worse symptoms. (ANI/Sputnik)