Tue. Jun 15th, 2021

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said it has detected in the Philippines two cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variant from India.

Felipa Tabladillo, 86, receives a dose of China’s Sinovac Biotech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a drive-thru vaccination site for bedridden and persons with disabilities, in Makati city, Metro Manila, Philippines, May 7, 2021. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference that the new variant has been tagged as responsible for India’s Covid-19 surge, which has placed tremendous stress on that country’s health system.

Earlier, the DOH said that four of the Covid-19 patients with travel history from India were Filipinos, while the other one is a foreign national.

Their samples were then assessed to determine whether they should be subjected to genomic sequencing which can check if they are carrying new Covid-19 variants, including the “double mutant” B.1.617 variant first reported in India.

Besides the Covid-19 variant from India, the DOH is also monitoring the variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa, among others.

To prevent the Covid-19 variant from India from entering the Philippines, the government barred the entry of travelers coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka until May 14.Meanwhile, all Filipino passengers coming from or who have been to the five countries within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, arriving before May 7 (Manila time) shall not be prohibited from entering the Philippines, but shall be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period despite acquiring a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result. SOVEREIGNPH

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