Philippines
Personnel in protective suits, used due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, prepare to move a body inside the crematory chambers at a crematorium facility in Manila on April 29, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

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

The World Health Organsiation has classified the coronavirus variant, known as B.1.617, as a variant of global concern with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.

The variant had been confirmed in two Filipino seafarers who returned in April from abroad, Alethea De Guzman, director of the ministry's epidemiology bureau, told a news conference

"We need to continually monitor what other variants we may be able to detect locally, as well as monitor the spread of the variants we have already detected," De Guzman said, adding that the seafarers were isolated on their return and had both recovered.