Philippines logs 6,739 new Covid-19 cases, death toll crosses 19,000 as more variant cases are reported

Vehicles travel along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) highway in Metro Manila, the Philippines, on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. The Philippines’ economy is struggling to gain momentum as elevated numbers of Covid cases hamper reopening efforts and destroy jobs. - Bloomberg

MANILA, May 15 (Xinhua): The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Saturday 6,739 new Covid-19 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the South-East Asian country to 1,138,187.

The death toll climbed to 19,051 after 93 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.

The DOH said that 1,062,427 people have recovered from the disease, and 56,709 are still active cases.

The Philippines, with a population of about 110 million, has tested over 11.7 million people since the outbreak in January 2020.

The Philippines also confirmed on Saturday the detection of 10 additional cases of the new Covid-19 variant first detected in India, bringing the total number of such cases in the country to 12.

The Department of Health (DOH) said the B.1.617 variant was found in the samples taken from a seafarer that arrived from Belgium via the United Arab Emirates on April 24. The patient has completed his isolation on May 13.

The DOH said the variant was also detected in the samples taken from the nine crew members of MV Athens Bridge, a container vessel from India operated by an all-Filipino crew.

The vessel left India on April 22 and then made a stop in Malaysia. When it arrived in Vietnam on May 1, it was found that 12 of the 21 Filipino crew members tested positive for COVID-19.

"Four of the nine B.1.617 cases remain admitted at a hospital in Manila and are currently in stable condition, while the other five are currently in an isolation facility," the DOH added.

The DOH said that samples taken from the three other crew members "were not eligible for sequencing." Nevertheless, the DOH noted these three crew members remain in an isolation facility.

The Philippines also reported on May 11 the detection of the B.1.617 variant in two seafarers that arrived from Oman and the United Arab Emirates last month.

With the detection of the B.1.617 variant, there are now altogether four variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, in the Philippines.

The WHO classified the B.1.617 as "a variant of concern at a global level," citing "some available information to suggest increased transmissibility."

The Philippines has banned international arrivals from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates until May 31 amid concerns over the new variant. - Xinhua

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Philippines , Covid-19 , Cases , Still High , Variants , India , 10 Cases , Found


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