DOH: 6 travelers from India test positive for COVID-19

(Eagle News) — Six travelers from India who arrived in the Philippines before the travel ban on travelers from that country was imposed have tested positive for COVID-19.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the six were among 110 who were tested as part of protocol.

Their samples have been sent to the Philippine Genome Center for whole genome sequencing.

“Meron pong anim na hanggang ngayon ay nilo-locate pa rin natin (There are six others who are still being located),” she added.

Starting April 29, Presidential Spokesperson Harry  Roque announced all travelers coming from India or those with travel history to India within the last fourteen  days preceding arrival shall be prohibited from entering the Philippines.

Those who were already in transit or who already arrived in the Philippines prior to April 29, however, were not covered by the ban.

India has been battling a surge in COVID-19 cases, frequently reporting more than 300,000 daily COVID-19 cases.

Some have attributed the surge to the presence of virus variants, including the B.1.617, which was first detected in India in October.

B.1.617 has been called the “double mutant” because of what scientists said were its genetic changes that could make it more transmissible.

As of May 3, the DOH said, in the Philippines, there are  948 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom, 1,075 cases of the B.1.351 cases detected in South Africa, 157 cases of the P.3 variant detected in the Philippines, and one case of the P.1 variant from Brazil.