DoH allays fears of new variant spread

By Red Mendoza

THE Department of Health (DoH) allayed fears of a spread of the more infectious B117 variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country after it was reported late Friday that 19 more new cases were recorded.

Of the 19 new variant cases, 10 have no known links from those that were reported previously in the Cordillera Administrative Region, where a local transmission has been recorded.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during her regular segment in the Laging Handa televised briefing on Saturday that at this stage there was “no sufficient evidence to say that there is a spread or transmission that’s why we are continuously monitoring”.

The DoH spokesman said that the only known local transmission of the new variant remained in clusters detected in Bontoc, Mountain Province and La Trinidad, Benguet.

Vergeire said that all regions in the country, except for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), were adequately represented in the latest sequencing done by the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (PGC).

Vergeire said the BARMM has not submitted positive specimens but may be able to get samples next week.

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