Fifty-two more cases of the South African variant COVID-19 have been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health said Friday.
Forty-one of the cases for the variant, B.1.351, are from Metro Manila, the DOH said. Authorities are verifying whether the 11 others are local cases or returning overseas Filipinos. Only one of the 52 reported cases has recovered.
Six cases of the South African variant were confirmed in the country ealier this week, including three from Pasay City, where there was a recent spike in cases.
The South African variant "suggests higher transmissibility and and may have an impact on vaccine efficacy," the DOH had said. There is no evidence so far to show that it causes more severe symptoms of COVID-19.
The DOH also confirmed 31 additional cases of the UK variant, B.1.1.7, all of which are active cases. Of the 31 cases, 28 are from Metro Manila while the rest are still under verification as to whether these are local cases or returning overseas Filipinos.
The health department said it was coordinating with local government units to contain the further spread of these variants.
The public is also reminded to continue observing minimum health standards such as wearing face masks to control the spread of the virus.
"The conscious effort of properly wearing a mask and face shield, and observing physical distancing will keep you and everyone around you protected from COVID," the DOH said.
As of Thursday, the Philippines has confirmed 584,667 COVID-19 cases. Of this number, 12,404 have died while 535,037 have recovered.