DOH-7: Premature to say UK variant behind rise in Cebu City’s cases
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) is not recommending putting Cebu City under another round of lockdown as means to solve the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
“We don’t categorically suggest a lockdown since we are still able to manage and have this situation under control. What we need is the fast reinforcement of health protocols,” said Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of DOH-7.
Loreche, in a virtual presser on Monday, February 8, also said it was still premature to blame the presence of the UK variant tagged as B117, as the reason behind the continued rise of COVID-19 cases in Cebu City.
She noted that they are still waiting for the results by the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) of the 70 samples extracted between January 30 to February 5 from individuals suspected to have the mutated version of the virus.
“Producing the results will take some time but based on our conversation last (Sunday) night, they (PGC) may give them to us within the 7 to 14 days. By then, we can determine if the increase is really due to the presence of the UK variant,” said Loreche in a mix of Cebuano and English.
Experts said the B117 strain is, on average, 50 percent more infectious than the original version of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Loreche also said other factors could have caused the jump in COVID infections in the city, including the possibility that the SARS-CoV-2 present here could have already mutated, and leniency in following health protocols among the public.
Data from DOH-7 showed that as of February 7, the city’s number of active cases stood at 2,096 as it logged 121 additional confirmed patients.
It was the sixth consecutive day for Cebu City to log triple-digits in its number of new COVID-19 cases in a day. /dbs
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