200 new variant cases detected; OCTA warns of ‘ripple effect’

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More than 200 additional cases of COVID-19 variants in the country were detected recently by the Genome Center and the University of the Philippines’ National Institute of Health, the Department of Health (DOH) said Sunday.

The OCTA Research Group, for its part, warned of a possible ripple effect in the Visayas and Mindanao after the surge recorded in Metro Manila in March.

“There appears to be a ripple effect cycle where surges are seen in provinces after a jump in cases in NCR. That is why vaccination is very important to stop that cycle,” OCTA Research fellow Guido David said in a television interview.

David’s warning came as the Genome Center’s sequencing yielded one additional B.1.617.2 (India) variant case, 104 B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom) variant cases, 137 B.1.351 (South Africa) variant cases, and four P.3 variant cases, a variant that was first detected in the Philippines.

These additional numbers brought the total to 13 Indian variant cases, 1,071 UK cases, 1,246 South Africa cases, and 162 Philippines variant cases, the DOH said.

A total of 7,547 samples had been sequenced.

“The detection of additional VOC (variant of concern) cases supports the need for strict adherence to MPHS to minimize risk of exposure and infection and getting vaccinated once it is our turn,” the DOH said.

“Also, despite local presence of these variants of concern, we can minimize their transmission as well as the emergence of new variants by keeping case numbers down,” it added.

The Philippines logged 7,058 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the total to 1,223,627, as four laboratories were not able to submit their data on time, the DOH said.

Based on data in the last 14 days, the four non-reporting labs contribute, on average, 1.9 percent of samples tested and 1.6 percent of positive individuals, said the DOH.

The DOH reported 139 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 20,860.

The DOH also reported 6,852 new recoveries, bringing the total recoveries to 1,149,010.

This left 53,757 active cases, of which 93.2 percent were mild, 2.3 percent were asymptomatic, 1.4 percent were critical, 1.8 percent were severe, and 1.28 percent were moderate.

The DOH also reported that, nationwide, 58 percent of the ICU beds, 46 percent of the isolation beds, 49 percent of the ward beds, and 39 percent of the ventilators, were in use.

In Metro Manila, 54 percent of the ICU beds, 39 percent of the isolation beds, 37 percent of the ward beds, and 38 percent of the ventilators, were in use.

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