The United Kingdom COVID-19 variant has been found in at least 5 regions in the Philippines, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
According to the DOH, the samples found positive for the allegedly more contagious UK variant came from the Cordillera Administrative Region, National Capital Region (NCR), Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Davao Region.
But according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, this is still not enough to confirm that there is a community transmission of the UK COVID-19 variant.
“Walang malinaw na puwedeng sabihin o conclusion kung ano ba talaga ang epekto ng variants na ito sa pangkalahatang kaso ng COVID-19,” said Duque.
According to Duque, the increase in COVID-19 cases in some NCR cities cannot be fully linked to the variant.
It is said that it is still being evaluated by the Philippine Genome Center and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
On Sunday, the DOH recorded 18 new cases of UK variant of coronavirus in the Philippines.
UK COVID-19 variant detected in at least 5 regions – DOH
Of the new cases, 13 were returning overseas Filipinos who arrived from January 3 to 27.
Apart from the additional case of the UK COVID-19 variant, 3 have also been confirmed with the mutation of N501Y and E484K, all of whom are from Central Visayas.
According to Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire, they have already notified local government officials to be stricter in enforcing health protocols, including conducting localized lockdowns.
“These mutations that we’ve identified in the Visayas area, these have also been identified in the variants of other countries like the UK variant, South African and Brazilian. But as I said, not all of these mutations are harmful,” said Vergeire.
For infectious disease specialist Dr. Rontgene Solante, there’s really a need to have a vaccine.
“Sana ma-fast track ang vaccination before ma-overtake tayo sa mga new variants coming in from other countries or in fact our own local variants,” said Solante.
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