(Eagle News) — Three travelers who arrived in the Philippines from South Africa, Burkina Faso, and Egypt have tested positive for COVID-19.

Health  Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the three were among the 253 travelers from South Africa, three from Burkina Faso, and 541 from Egypt who arrived in the Philippines from November 15 to November 29.

She said the samples of the three who tested positive will be subjected to genome sequence testing to determine the COVID-19 variant.

The Omicron variant, which Italian researchers have found to have over 30 genetic changes, half of which are concentrated in the spike protein that interacts with human cells, has been classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization.

The findings have prompted the researchers to say that that specific COVID-19 variant has adapted well to humans.

The mutations, the WHO said, may make it easier for the virus to evade existing immunity, causing “future surges of Covid-19, which could have severe consequences.”

So far, the variant has been reported in Japan, Hong Kong, India, Germany, and Australia, among others.


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