The double mutant strain of the coronavirus from India, named B.1.617, has been found in two returning overseas Filipinos, one who came in from Oman and the other from the United Arab Emirates.
According to the health department, neither had a history of travel to India nor passed through on their way to the Philippines.
This particular strain, which has ravaged India, has also been considered by the World Health Organization as a “variant of concern”, joining three other previously discovered strains in this category: B.1.1.7 (from the United Kingdom), B.1.351 (from South Africa) and P1 (from Brazil).
WHO technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said: “We are classifying this as a variant of concern at a global level,” adding that there was data that suggested “increased transmissibility.”
B.1.617 has crossed over to more than 30 nations including the United States, the UK, France and Japan.
Just last week, India’s single-day tallies breached 400,000, swelling the total caseload to 22.3 million. Their death toll numbers at over 240,000.