DOH: There has been no community transmission of the ‘more contagious’ COVID-19 variants in PH

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MANILA-The Department of Health (DOH) clarified that there is still no evidence of community transmission or spread in the community of more contagious variants of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) virus recorded in the country.

“Wala tayong confirmed community transmission as of yet. We are still further studying the cases,”said Health Usec. Maria Vergeire at a press briefing.

Although the official admitted that coronavirus cases are on the rise in the country, he insisted that the variants cannot be blamed for the number.

Based on the last DOH update, there have been 118 cases of the more contagious UK variant, and 58 cases of another more contagious and said to have an effect on the South African variant vaccine.

“When we say community transmission, kailangan nakikita natin may clustering ng kaso. Doon sa clustering hindi mo na makita yung link ang bawat isang kaso na ‘yan… tapos dito sa community ng nagkakasakit din, hindi mo na ma-link kung saan nakuha yung sakit.”

Vergeire explained that only more than 300 samples were subjected to whole genome sequencing last week.

At least 750 samples per week must be processed by the UP-Philippine Genome Center.

“Yung unang parte ng linggo kaya 300 plus, this was because nakapag-submit tayo ng more than 750 samples. Kaya lang out of it, ang naging katanggap-tanggap lang ay 300 plus lang, kaya ‘yun ang na-run noong batch na ‘yon.”

“And then we did another run last week, a purposive run where we focused on NCR, Region 7, and returning overseas Filipinos, because gusto na natin makita yung extent sa mga lugar na tumataas ang kaso.”

Under genome sequencing, the identity and origin of the virus are determined. According to the DOH, the cycle threshold (CT) value of a positive sample must be less than 30 to undergo the process.

Over the past three days, more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases have been recorded by the DOH.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines has reached 594, 412.

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