First Case of Variant from Mauritius Detected in PH, DOH Says Don't Panic

WHO lists B.1.1.318 as variant under monitoring
Photo/s: REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa

The Department of Health said Monday it confirmed the Philippines' first case of a coronavirus variant that was first reported in the island nation of Mauritius, one that is being monitored by the World Health Organization.

The B.1.1.318 variant was found in the sample that was taken from a 34-year-old male last March 10. It usually takes weeks, even months, to check for variants among positive samples.

The WHO declared B.1.1.318 as "under monitoring" in June. This is different from variants of concern that are spreading or have spread and are given Greek names such as Delta.

"Let me just reiterate, it's a variant under monitoring. Lahat po pinag-aaralan sa ngayon, wala po tayong cause to panic. Kailangan lang po maging vigilant pa rin tayong lahat and follow our minimum public health standards," said Health Usec. Rosario Vergeire.

The variant was first detected in a cluster of 120 cases in Mauritius, a tourist island in the Indian Ocean. The WHO and international experts are closely monitoring mutations of B.1.1.318 which could affect vaccine efficacy, she said.

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