2 COVID-19 variants already present in all NCR cities — DOH

By: Cathrine Gonzales – Reporter / @cgonzalesINQ

The COVID-19 variants first detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa are already present in all cities of Metro Manila, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

“Hindi po natin ipagkakaila ‘yan na talagang nakita na natin na itong mga variants ay nasa lahat na ng cities dito sa atin sa Metro Manila. ‘Yan po ay factual na,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press briefing.

(We cannot deny that the variants are already in all cities in Metro Manila. This is already factual.)

“Nakita na po natin that in all of the cities, meron na tayong, it’s either the UK variant or the South African variant. Also in other cities, meron na siya both the UK variant at South African variant. So we can say yes, the variants are here, and yes it has contributed to the increase in the number of cases,” she added.

(We saw that in all cities, there is either the UK variant or the South African variant. Also in other cities, they have both the variants. So we can say yes, the variants are here and it has contributed to the increase in the number of cases.)

Nevertheless, Vergeire reiterated that the non-compliance to health protocols is still the “root cause” of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The DOH has so far recorded a total of 223 cases of the B.1.1.7 (UK variant), 152 cases of the B.1.351 (South African variant), one case of the P.1 (Brazil variant), and over 100 cases of the P.3 variant.

The variants from the UK, South Africa, and Brazil have been associated with higher transmissibility, with initial studies also showing that the South African variant may be resistant to some vaccines.

The P.3 variant, meanwhile, has not yet been declared as a variant of concern as current data is still insufficient, according to DOH.

The country has been seeing a surge in new COVID-19 cases, with 7,999 cases on Saturday recorded as the highest single day case count since the pandemic began. 

A total of 663,794 COVID-19 cases have been recorded so far in the country as of Sunday. Of this number, 73,072 are active cases, 577,754 are recoveries, and 12,968 have led to deaths.

Vergeire said the DOH still need to await confirmation from the World Health Organization if there is already community transmission of the variants of concerns in the country.

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