South Africa traveler tests positive for different COVID-19 variant — DOH
MANILA, Philippines — A traveler from South Africa has tested positive for the B.1.1.203 COVID-19 variant which the Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday said is “not a variant of concern or interest” adding that no traveler from South Africa has tested positive for the Omicron variant.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the B.1.1.203 variant was detected following the latest genome sequencing. The DOH tested 253 travelers from South Africa from November 15 to November 29.
“Unang-una gusto natin ipaalam sa ating mga kababayan (First, we want to inform our fellow Filipinos), there was no sample positive for the Omicron variant,” she said during the Laging Handa briefing.
“Naisama po natin dito ‘yung isang arrival from South Africa kung saan lumabas po ‘yung sequencing result na ito po ay isang variant na B.1.1.203. Hindi po siya Omicron. Hindi rin po siya ‘yung mga variants na binabantayan natin dito sa ating bansa. Ito po ay hindi variant of concern o variant of interest,”
(We have included one sample from a traveler from South Africa wherein sequencing results showed that it has a B.1.1.203 variant. This is not Omicron. It is also not among the variants that the country is monitoring. This is not a variant of concern or interest.)
In a statement Saturday afternoon, the DOH said the traveler who tested positive for the B.1.1.203 variant arrived in the Philippines on November 16. The traveler’s test result was released on November 21.
The health agency added that the traveler is located in Region 7. The DOH added that the case is still for verification and that it is in coordination with the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units.
Meanwhile, the DOH urged the public to get vaccinated and continue complying with minimum public health standards to prevent transmission of COVID-19.
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