More funds needed for genome sequencing to detect UK variant – Bong Go
MANILA, Philippines — The country may need more funds for the genome sequencing of new COVID-19 cases to detect the United Kingdom variant, a senator said on Tuesday.
In an interview, administration ally and Senator Bong Go said that he would bring up the matter to President Rodrigo Duterte and Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, as the 2021 national budget has already been finished and passed into law.
The UK variant, which was initially found in a Quezon City-based businessman, has spread to over 30 of his contacts, while other COVID-19 patients in Bontoc, Mountain Province, have been found to have the said variant.
Earlier, it was announced that 447 contacts in Bontoc and La Trinidad, Benguet are being monitored for possibly contracting the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant.
“Nakausap ko kanina si Dra. (Celia) Carlos at si (Health) Secretary (Francsico) Duque kung kakailanganin po nila ng pondo dahil ito pong genome sequencing ay di naman natin akalain na merong darating na mga bagong UK variant, at hindi po ito nasali sa budget ng 2021,” Go said.
(I talked with Dr. Celia Carlos and Health Secretary Francisco Duque a while ago if they need more funds for the genome sequencing, and because we did not expect that a new variant would arrive, we did not include it in our 2021 budget.)
“Handa po akong makiusap sa ating mahal na Pangulo sa ngayong taon na ito, sa 2021, na malagyan po ng pondo at kakausapin ko rin po si Secretary (Wendel) Avisado ng DBM dahil hindi na po ito makaka-antay ng 2022,” he added.
(I am prepared to talk with our President to request that for 2021, additional funds be placed. I will also talk with Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado because this cannot be left to the 2022 budget.)
Last January 27, the Department of Health confirmed that local transmission of the more infectious UK variant is occurring in Bontoc, as the initial carrier had already infected members of his family and community.
At present, 83 of the 410 close contacts of the initial UK variant patient have tested positive for COVID-19.
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