Results on testing for new COVID variant to be out Wednesday or Thursday — DOH
MANILA, Philippines — Results of the testing on whether or not the new and more infectious COVID-19 virus variant has entered the country may be released this week, the Department of Health said Monday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) has already received samples from passengers who arrived in the Philippines from countries with reported cases of the new COVID-19 variant.
Samples from other COVID-19 patients infected in November and December were also included in the genome sequencing.
“They have given us about seven days para sa processing nitong (for the processing of) genome sequencing… Hopefully, by Wednesday and Thursday this week, we can get the results already of these passengers that were swabbed,” Vergeire said in an online media forum.
“Nagsama na tayo from the targeted population or those sectors in the population which we see na vulnerable at mas risky sila magkaroon sila ng ganitong genome or this variant,” she added.
(We included samples from the targeted population or those sectors in the population which are vulnerable and more risky in getting the new variant.)
She said the health department pulled samples from patients who are in hospitals, in areas with clustering of cases, and even from closed institutions.
A new variant of COVID-19, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, has started to spread across the globe. Because of this, the Philippine government has started banning travelers coming from the UK to enter the country.
Vergeire said passengers coming into the country from affected countries are being swabbed twice upon entry — one for the polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test to check for COVID-19, and another in case gene sequencing.
Only those who tested positive for the coronavirus will be sent to the PGC for genome sequencing.
A traveler from the UK who has recently arrived in the Philippines has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. However, it is yet to be learned whether or not the traveler carries the new COVID variant.
As of Jan. 3, the Philippines has recorded a total of 477,807 COVID-19 cases, with 448,258 recoveries and 9,257 deaths.
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