Variant scare

Published: January 18-24, 2021 edition

The Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) have confirmed last week the detection of the B.1.1.7. SARS-CoV-2 variant (UK variant) in the country, considered by health experts as the potent version of the coronavirus.

A public scare cropped up after the swab test specimen of a Filipino who arrived from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on January 7 yielded positive genome sequencing results.

In this regard, DOH ordered the intensive conduct of weekly genomic biosurveillance among incoming overseas passengers, local re-infected patients, and those with reported clustering of cases.

As a precautionary measure, the Philippine government quickly issued a travel ban to flight passengers with recent travel history in Britain and some other foreign countries and regions with cases of UK variant to prevent the new strain from spreading in the country.

In Ilocos Norte, Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc announced the suspension of home quarantine protocols for all returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) due to the recent detection of the new UK variant in the country.

Indeed, the immediate action of the Governor aims to protect local residents from contracting the new variant of coronavirus while the local health authorities continued to exert all efforts to counteract the variant menace.

There’s no attempt to be alarmist, but everyone must be on guard before it’s too late.

The public must heed the government call for stricter observance of health standards and stricter implementation of quarantine protocols to further mitigate the risk of acquiring the deadly virus. (IS with a report from DOH)