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