DOH, UP-PGC, AND UP-NIH DETECT MORE COVID-19 VARIANTS; ASSURE CONTINUOUS COVID-19 BIOSURVEILLANCE ACTIVITIES

Press Release | 21 June 2021

The Department of Health (DOH), the University of the Philippines - Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines - National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) today report the detection of four additional Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases, 14 Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant cases, 21 Beta (B.1.351) variant cases, and one Theta (P.3) variant case based on the latest whole-genome sequencing report.

ON DELTA VARIANT CASE:

Three of the four additional Delta variant cases are Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROF) from the MV Eastern Hope, a ship currently docked in South Korea. Upon detection of the PCR-positive Filipino crew in South Korea, they were repatriated back to the Philippines on June 3, 2021. Two cases have completed the 10-day isolation after arrival in the country and were discharged upon certification of recovery, while one is still admitted in a hospital in Metro Manila.

Meanwhile, the fourth case is a ROF who arrived from Saudi Arabia on May 24, 2021. The case has completed the mandated isolation, tagged as recovered on June 10, 2021, discharged thereafter from the isolation facility, and is now under strict home quarantine as per protocols of the LGU of destination. This brings the total number of Delta cases to 17.

ON ALPHA VARIANT CASES:

Of the additional 14 Alpha variant cases detected, 12 are local cases while two are being verified as to whether these are local or ROF cases. Based on the case line list, two cases have died and 12 cases have been tagged as recovered. The Alpha variant cases now total 1,085.

ON BETA VARIANT CASES:

Of the additional 21 Beta variant cases detected, 20 are local cases while one case is being verified as to whether this is a local or ROF case. Based on the case line list, 20 cases have been tagged as recovered and one case is currently active. The total Beta variant cases are now 1,267.

ON THETA VARIANT CASES:

The additional Theta variant case is currently being verified as to whether this is a local or ROF case. The case has already been tagged as recovered.

Currently, the Theta variant is not identified as a variant of concern (VOC) since more data is needed to conclude whether the variant will have significant public health implications.

The DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-NIH assure the public that biosurveillance activities for the detection of COVID-19 variants shall continue amidst the increase in cases in Visayas and Mindanao. The procurement of reagents for whole genome sequencing for the rest of the year was initiated by a grant of Php 180 million by the DOH to the UP-PGC last May 2021. After undergoing the government procurement process, the reagents shall arrive at the UP-PGC this week. These reagents will allow the DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-NIH to sequence samples of COVID-19 cases regularly until the end of the year, ensuring that the government will have essential information in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.