By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) reported Tuesday the first two cases of the more transmissible Indian B.1.617 variant in the country.


The two individuals infected with Covid-19 variant from India are both male overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

One of the two patients is a 37-year-old OFW from Oman, while the other one is a 58-year-old OFW from the United Arab Emirates.

DOH Epidemiology Bureau Director Althea de Guzman said the B.1.617 variant was first detected in India last October 2020 and later detected in 46 other countries, based on the global genome database.

“It contains at least 15 mutations, with two significant mutations we’re monitoring and these are the L452R and the E484Q and the specific variant B.1.617.2 which we detected has an additional mutation which is the T478K,” de Guzman said.

The Philippine government remains “very careful” to control the further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variant first detected in India.

The Philippine government has imposed travel restrictions on travelers from India until May 14, to prevent the entry of the new variant that is responsible for New Delhi’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

The Philippines has expanded the coverage of the travel ban by also prohibiting travelers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to enter the country until May 14.

On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the B.1.617 as a “variant of concern”.