UK variant detected in 6 regions – DOH

February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Sixty-two confirmed cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 have been detected in six regions.

Based on the data released by the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday, 23 cases of the 62 UK variant were recorded in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Eighteen were detected in Bontoc, Mountain Province, four in La Trinidad, Benguet and one in Sabangan, also in Mountain Province.

One case each was detected in Metro Manila, particularly in Pasay City; Tanauan, Batangas and San Mateo, Rizal in Calabarzon and Liloan, Cebu in Central Visayas.

The DOH said it is still validating the source of infection for the Liloan case who has a travel history in Metro Manila.

The agency’s epidemiology and surveillance unit has yet to determine if the source of infection is Cebu or Metro Manila.

The DOH said one case each of the UK variant was also detected in Impasugong, Bukidnon in Northern Mindanao; New Bataan and Compostela, both in Davao de Oro, and Davao City in Davao region.

Data shows that 30 cases are among returning overseas Filipinos while one is an “arriving foreign national.”

The DOH had earlier said there was no sufficient evidence to conclude a community transmission of the new variant in the country despite the detection of 62 cases.

It said the country has yet to achieve its target sample size across all regions.

“We cannot make conclusions yet as to whether there is presence of B117 community transmission and the extent of transmission of B117 in the regions,” the DOH said, referring to the UK variant.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said their goal is to expand the genome sequencing capacity of the country to get a more accurate picture of the situation.

Duque said they hope to have genome sequencing facilities in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Genome sequencing is done primarily by the Philippine Genome Center, which processes 750 samples per run.

“We want to further enhance our bio-surveillance to know better the extent of the variants,” Duque said.

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