The Department of Health said Tuesday it detected six cases of the South African COVID variant in the Philippines.
The South African variant "suggests higher transmissibility and and may have an impact on vaccine efficacy," the DOH said. There is no evidence so far to show that it causes more severe symptoms of COVID-19.
The variant, B.1.351, was detected in three local cases, two returning Filipinos and one other case whose location was being verified, the DOH said.
The three local cases were reported to be residents of Pasay City, whose swab samples were collected Jan. 27 to Feb. 13. Two are active, a 61-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man, while third, a 40-year-old man, has recovered.
The DOH also confirmed 30 additional cases of the UK variant, B.1.1.7, bringing the country's total to 87.
Twenty of the 30 are returning Filipinos from overseas. Three others are local cases while the location of seven others is being verified.
The 20 returning Filipinos came from the U.S., Singapore and the Middle East and were tested from Jan. 20 to Feb. 16. Thirteen are asymptomatic while seven recovered.