PH records 678 new COVID-19 variant cases, but no India variant yet

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 4) — The country has recorded 678 new cases of COVID-19 variants, while the Department of Health has not yet detected the presence of the "double mutant" variant from India. 

The DOH, the Philippine Genome Center, and the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health on Tuesday reported 289 new cases of the B.1.17 variant first detected in the United Kingdom, 380 cases of the B.1.351 variant discovered in South Africa, and nine new cases of the P.3 — the variant first detected in the Philippines that is still under investigation.

The 678 new variant cases were from the 744 samples sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center.

The DOH reported that two people found with the UK variant in this batch have died, while only three cases remain active. For those newly-infected with the South Africa variant, one remains active.

All those with the P.3 variant have recovered. DOH reiterated that P.3 variant is still not identified as a variant of concern since current data is insufficient to determine whether the variant will have significant public health implications.

In total, there are 1,075 cases of the South Africa variant, 948 cases of the UK variant, 157 cases of the P.3 variant, and two cases of the variant first found in Brazil.

The country has yet to record a case of the variant detected in India that is dubbed "double mutant." It is is a virus strain that carries two mutations.

It is not yet clear how many infections have been linked to this double mutant variant, or whether the strain is any more dangerous. India's health ministry said "such mutations confer immune escape and increased infectivity."

The Philippines has imposed a 15-day ban on travelers coming from India.