DOH-7: No confirmed cases of UK variant in CV

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | February 14,2021 - 11:06 AM
No confirmed cases of UK variant yet in CV

FILE PHOTO: This undated transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. NIAID-RML/Handout via REUTERS.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – There are no confirmed cases of patients with the more infectious UK variant of the SARs-CoV-2 in Central Visayas, the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH-7) said.

Health officials here made the assurance after  additional coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients confirmed to have been infected with the more infectious version of the virus were reported in other parts of the country.

RELATED STORY: COVID-19 UK variant infects 19 more in PH

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH-7 spokesperson, told reporters in a message that 60 of the 70 swab samples which they sent for genomic sequencing last January yielded negative results.

Loreche said that 10 samples from the first batch of 70 samples coming from Central Visayas remained at the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) for testing.

The DOH-7 official said they also delivered another batch of 91 samples to PGC last Friday, February 12, for genomic sequencing to help them determine if the new variant already exist here.

This brings to a total of 101 the number of samples coming from Central Visayas that remains pending with PGC.

“It’s still possible we have the UK variant but [this is] not yet confirmed,” said Loreche.

DOH-7 has initiated a bio-surveillance among COVID-19 patients here to detect the presence of a mutated SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of the disease.

Authorities and even experts from Metro Manila earlier suspected that the UK variant, which scientists abroad said to be on average 56 percent more infectious than the original version, could be the reason behind the increasing COVID-19 cases in Central Visayas.

But Loreche said the rise of infections could be a result of other factors such as increase in mobility and “aggressive contact tracing, extraction, and isolation.”

RELATED STORY: DOH-7: Premature to say UK variant behind rise in Cebu City’s cases

As of February 13, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Central Visayas jumped to 5,385 after the region logged 418 new infections.

The region has already documented a total of 32,811 COVID-19 cases with 25,918 recoveries and 1,508 mortalities. /dcb


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TAGS: Central Visayas, COVID-19, COVID-19 UK variant, DOH-7, Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, genomic sequencing, No confirmed cases of UK variant yet in CV, Philippine Genome Center, UK variant

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