Authorities in the United Kingdom reported to the World Health Organization in December that a variant of COVID-19 had been detected, which eventually prompted countries, including the Philippines, to impose travel restrictions on Britain. Preliminary findings suggest that the variant has increased transmissibility but analyses also indicate that there is no change in disease severity.
South African officials also announced last December the detection of a new variant in the country. The United Nations health agency said further investigations are needed to understand the variant’s impacts on transmission, severity of infection and vaccines.
The Malaysian health ministry also reported it had identified a new COVID-19 variant from samples taken in Sabah. It is still unknown whether the variant is more infectious than the others.
This development, however, prompted Sulu to impose two-week lockdown to keep the variant out from reaching the country’s shores.