COVID-19 variants could be causing recent surge of COVID-19 cases — IATF expert
MANILA, Philippines — A health expert being consulted by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on Friday said that the coronavirus disease variants could be causing the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the country.
The Department of Health announced earlier the detection of 52 new cases of the B.1.351 COVID-19 variant from South Africa (South Africa variant) and 31 additional cases of B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 from the United Kingdom (UK variant) in the country.
While there is indirect link between the variants and the drastic spike of COVID-19 cases, Dr. John Wong, a member of the IATF technical working group on data analytics said this development is still concerning as “there could be more than that (number of cases).”
“One evidence that the variant could be causing this surge is, we detected the variant just before cases start to rise. So there’s some indirect evidence that the variants are causing this surge. We should encourage the public to take precautions,” Wong said in a press briefing.
“The number of cases found is only because we’re still collecting samples for surveillance testing so as we collect more samples, we’ll be able to see more,” Wong added. “The number of cases you see now should not be seen as sort of the maximum number of people or patients who have the variant. There could be more than that.”
On Friday, the DOH reported 3,045 new cases — the highest for this year — bringing the total active cases in the country to 40,074.
The spike of cases came as the government started its rollout of its coronavirus program, with the arrival of the 600,000 doses of China-donated vaccine from Sinovac Biotech last Sunday.
On Thursday, the Philippines received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines developed by British-Swede drugmaker AstraZeneca that were sent by the COVAX Facility.
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