Philippines records first two cases of Indian coronavirus variant

May 11, 2021 - 12:28 PM
Patients, seated beside their guardians, are treated on wheelchairs amid shortage of beds at the makeshift extention of the COVID-19 Emergency Room of government hospital National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City, which has declared overcapacity following a surge of COVID-19 infections in Metro Manila, Philippines, April 26, 2021. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

MANILA — The Philippines has detected its first two cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India, its health ministry said on Tuesday.

The variant, known as B.1.617, had been confirmed in two Filipino workers who returned in April from the United Arab Emirates and Oman, Alethea De Guzman, director of the ministry’s epidemiology bureau, told a news conference, adding they had been in isolation since coming back.

In a bid to prevent the entry of a variant, the Philippines has temporarily barred travelers coming from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh from entering the country.

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—Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales Editing by Ed Davies