MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippines has recorded 52 more cases of the more transmissible South African COVID-19 variant and 42 additional virus patients with mutations of "potential clinical significance," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Friday.
Along with this development, Duque also announced 31 newly-reported cases of the UK COVID-19 variant, the results of which were based on the 9th batch of 350 samples sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center.
Majority or 41 of the newly-confirmed South African or B.1.351 variant cases were detected in Metro Manila, while the places where the 11 came from are still being verified, Duque told reporters in a briefing at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.
This brings the total cases of the South African variant in the country to 58, after the health agency first detected its presence on Tuesday.
An additional 31 cases of the more contagious COVID-19 variant first detected in the UK (B.1.1.7) were also reported, raising the Philippines' total to 118.
The 42 mutations of "potential clinical significance" are, meanwhile, related to both the N501Y and E484K mutations initially detected in Central Visayas, the DOH noted. This raises the country's tally of the said virus mutations so far to 85.
First detected in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa in October, the South African variant has been found in more than 30 countries and accounts for more than 90 percent of SARS-CoV-2 samples in South Africa that undergo genetic sequencing.
In a separate statement, the health department said that of the 52 new cases of the South African variant, one patient from Metro Manila already recovered, while the remaining 51 cases are currently active infections and are being managed.
A total of 28 new UK COVID-19 variant cases, meanwhile, have "indicative addresses" in the capital region while 3 others are still being verified, said the DOH. All remain as active infections.
A total of 34 of the 42 additional cases with "concerning" mutations were from Central Visayas, while 6 were from Metro Manila. The addresses of the 2 cases are still being verified.
The newest 22 patients who have the mutations have recovered, while the rest are active cases, said the DOH.
The agency said it is already coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and local government units in Central Visayas and Metro Manila "to institute measures to contain further transmission of these variants and mutations."