MANILA - The Department of Health is closely monitoring the condition of 4 Filipinos infected with the COVID-19 variant first detected in India, saying the seafarers are still confined in hospitals.
Of the 12 carriers of the variant, 1 is still intubated, while 3 others continue to rely on oxygen support in some hospitals in Metro Manila, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference.
"Titingnan natin 'yung course ng sakit nila kung kompara sa other variants ay mas mahaba at mas nagwo-worsen," she said.
(We will monitor the course of their disease and compare if it lasts longer and is worse compared to other variants.)
Studies earlier showed that the India variant carries mutations that allows it to get past the immune system and become more transmittable.
The patients infected with the B.1.617 variant "are being retested today" to see if they have recuperated from COVID-19, Vergeire said.
Of the 12 known carriers of the India variant, 9 were seafarers aboard the MV Athens, 2 traveled from Belgium through a connecting flight from the United Arab Emirates, while another came from Oman.
At least 2 have been confirmed to have recuperated from COVID-19 earlier this month, according to data from the DOH.
The Philippines has banned travel from several countries including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.