UK Covid-19 variant already detected in PH as early as Dec. 10, says expert
MANILA, Philippines — An infectious disease expert on Saturday said the Covid-19 variant that originated from the United Kingdom was already detected in the Philippines as early as Dec. 10, but it was too early to tell that if it was indeed that variant.
During an online press briefing, Dr. Edsel Salvana from the Department of Health-Technical Advisory Group (DOH-TAG) said samples from one of the 16 patients who were recently found to be positive for the UK variant was collected last Dec. 10.
That date, according to Salvana, was four days before the UK reported to the World Health Organization that it detected a variant for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which was on Dec. 14.
“Dec. 10 was the earliest that we detected, but there are samples that we actually looked back to to make sure there was no widespread transmission in the country. This was part of the reason why we’re actually looking for samples from October, November, December, wala pa naman nakita nung October and November, and isa po yung nakita doon sa December, these are retrospective samples,” he said.
(It was on Dec. 10 that we detected it, but there are samples that we actually looked back to make sure that there was no widespread transmission in the country.
This was part of the reason why we’re actually looking for samples from October, November, December. We haven’t detected anything from October and November, and one was detected from December, these are retrospective samples.)
“So this person probably entered the country, galing siya sa UK or whatever, dala niya yung UK variant pero hindi pa na-identify na UK variant ‘yun dahil even in the world, hindi pa naga-announce na ito yung problema,” he added.
(So this person probably entered the country, he was from the UKor whatever, he may have carried the UK variant, but that variant was not identified yet because even in the world, the problem wasn’t announced yet.)
There are currently 17 cases of the UK variant in the Philippines. The first case was a 29-year-old businessman from Quezon City, who came from a flight from Dubai. His case was announced by the DOH on Jan. 13.
Salvana, meanwhile, said that the one-month lag time was early, compared to that of the UK, which took them three months to detect the new variant.
“Yung lag time between Dec. 10 na nahanap natin is one month, which is early compared yung three months ng UK. So hindi pa UK variant yung UK variant nung Dec. 10, so hindi pa po natin hinahanap. and wala pa ring restrictions at that time po,” he said.
(The lag time between Dec. 10 one month, which is earlier compared to the UK which took them three months. So the UK variant wasn’t the UK variant at that time, and it wasn’t even being discovered yet, and no restrictions at that time.)
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