Poe says DOH must be better prepared to stop UK variant spread
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe said she expects the Department of Health (DOH) to be better prepared to curb the spread of the new COVID-19 variant from the United Kingdom (UK) recently detected in the Philippines.
“We will be watching. No excuses this time. The DOH must act immediately and effectively to prevent another lockdown,” Poe said in a statement on Thursday.
Congress “ensured that there would be budget this year for contact tracing, medical equipment and vaccines,” according to Poe.
“Unlike last year, the DOH should be better prepared to stop the spread of the UK Covid-19 variant,” she added.
On Wednesday, the Department of Health said the Philippine Genome Center reported the detection of the new variant, known as B117, after samples from a Filipino who arrived from the United Arab Emirates on Jan. 7 yielded positive genome sequencing results.
The patient with the UK variant is a male resident of Quezon City who departed for Dubai on Dec. 27 for business purposes and arrived in the Philippines last Jan. 7 via Emirates Flight No. EK 332.
“Safety measures currently in place must not be relaxed. I urge the public to remain cautious, especially those who must report to work on a daily basis despite the threat of the new Covid-19 [variant],” Poe went on.
“The potential impact of this variant will burden our already stressed health facilities and the economy. But more than the economic repercussions, we cannot afford another surge of the coronavirus, which has already claimed the lives of too many of our friends, family and colleagues,” she added.
To date, the Philippines has so far recorded a total of 492,700 cases in the country. Of the number, 458,523 have already recovered from the disease while 9,699 have died.
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