There’s high chance new COVID-19 variant is already in PH – researcher

There is a high probability that a new COVID-19 variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom (UK) has entered the country, says a researcher from the OCTA Research Group.

According to Guido David in an interview with TeleRadyo, it has not been detected yet because no genome sequencing has been done in the country last month.

He said the UK variant of coronavirus could be the reason for the COVID-19 surge in the National Capital Region in December.

But David clarified that it is not certain until the genome sequencing results are released.

The new COVID-19 variant spreads faster, according to studies by experts. This is also the reason why many countries have imposed travel bans on passengers coming from the UK.

The Department of Health (DOH) said it is possible to find out if there is a new COVID-19 variant in the Philippines this week.

“Hopefully by Wednesday or Thursday this week we can get the results already of these passengers (arriving from abroad) that were swabbed,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

He said the samples tested were from patients in November and December.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced the expansion of the  starting midnight of January 3, 2021.
The  adds to the list of 21 countries with temporary travel restrictions imposed due to the reported new strain of Covid-19 that has plagued the United Kingdom.

There’s high chance new COVID-19 variant is already in PH – researcher

According to the BI, coming from the following countries are temporarily prohibited from entering the Philippines:
(1) United Kingdom
(2) Denmark
(3) Ireland
(4) Japan
(5) Australia
(6) Israel
(7) The Netherlands
(8) Hong Kong SAR
(9) Switzerland
(18)South Africa
“Foreigners from the US have been added to the list of those restricted,” said Morente.
“However, aliens from the US eligible for entry that arrive prior to January 3 will be allowed to enter but will be referred to the One Stop Shop for an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period,” he explained.
Morente clarified that Filipinos who will be arriving from said regions will be allowed to enter, but will likewise be referred for a strict 14-day quarantine.