- The Department of Health said they have not detected the UK variant of COVID-19 yet
- This, after a travel from the Philippines who went home to Hong Kong tested positive for the new strain
- DOH reiterated their call to follow health and safety protocols to prevent possible spread of the virus
No UK variant of COVID-19 has been detected in the Philippines yet, the Department of Health (DOH) maintained on Wednesday after a traveler from Manila tested positive for it when she arrived in Hong Kong last December.
DOH said that lineage analysis through whole genome sequencing done by the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) did not detect the new variant from the 305 samples submitted by nine institutions.
“The 305 samples analyzed by PGC were composed of positive samples from November to December hospital admissions and from inbound travelers who tested positive upon arrival at the airport,” DOH added.
DOH is now in close coordination with Hong Kong International Health Regulations focal point to obtain more information regarding the Hong Kong resident.
The new strain is reported to be more contagious but experts said there is no indication yet that the virus can cause a more severe disease.
The Health Department once again reminded the public to follow quarantine protocols in order to keep infection rates low.
“The DOH calls on all local government units and the transport regulators to continuously implement the health protocols in all settings. Strictly following the minimum public health standards (MPHS) is still the best measure to cut transmission of the variant and minimize the opportunities for virus mutation,” they said.
The Philippines has imposed a travel ban on 20 foreign countries (UK, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, and Spain) late December to prevent the spread of the new strain of COVID-19.