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Health official: No evidence yet of community transmission of new COVID variant in PH

While 16 more cases of the B.1.1.7 or the United Kingdom variant of the COVID-19 have been detected in the Philippines, it still too early to say if there is already a community transmission of the new variant in the country, according to a health official.

Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) Director Dr. Celia Carlos on Saturday said investigation is still ongoing that’s why it is still premature to determine the transmission of the new variant.

“Considering that investigation is ongoing, it may be premature for us now to determine whether there is ongoing community transmission. We need to wait for the results of the investigation,” said Carlos per report by Manila Bulletin.

Carlos said World Health Organization (WHO) has “three definitions” to establish if there is already a community transmission.

“First, large number of cases which are not linkable through transmission chains. No. 2, large number of cases from sentinel sites if there is existing surveillance, and No. 3, multiple unrelated-clusters in several areas of the country,” she said.

Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the DoH Technical Advisory Group, agreed with the notion.

“Right now there is no evidence of community transmission but it does not mean that it’s not there but we will continue to look,” he said.

It was last Friday when the Department of Health announced 16 new cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 virus in the country, pushing the total to 17.

Of the new cases, 12 were detected in Bontoc, Mountain Province; two returning overseas Filipinos from Lebanon; while the two others were detected in La Trinidad, Benguet and Calamba, Laguna. The first case was a resident of Quezon City who had a travel history from Dubai. (CC)

Staff Report

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