MANILA, March 13 (Reuters) – The Philippines has detected its first case of the highly contagious coronavirus variant first identified in Brazil, the health ministry said on Saturday.
A Filipino returning from Brazil tested positive for the P.1 variant after 752 samples were sequenced at the genome centre, the ministry said in a statement.
It reported 59 new infections of the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in Britain, and 32 cases of the B.1.351 variant discovered in South Africa. This brings cases for those variants to 177 and 90, respectively.
“Correct and consistent adherence to the minimum public health standards will prevent the transmission of these variants,” the ministry said.
The Philippines, which has the second-highest COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, is battling a renewed surge as it ramps up a vaccination drive that started on March 1.
Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by William Mallard