No UK COVID strain in PH

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Amid speculations that the UK variant (B.1.1.7) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is already in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) today report that the said variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has not yet been detected in the country.

In a press statement the health department said that based on the lineage analysis through whole genome sequencing done by the PGC, the UK variant was not detected in any of the 305 positive samples submitted to them from nine (9) institutions.

It analyzed positive samples collected from November-December hospital admissions and from inbound travellers who tested positive upon arrival at the airport.

But DOH is in close coordination with Hong Kong’s International Health Regulations focal point to secure official notification and other pertinent information regarding the Hong Kong resident who tested positive for the variant following travel history from the Philippines.

The DOH calls on all local government units and the transport regulators to continuously implement the health protocols in all settings.

It emphasized that following the minimum public health standards (MPHS) is still the best measure to cut transmission of the variant and minimize the opportunities for virus mutation.

Meanwhile, Philippines Airlines has released a statement confirming that the passenger onboard PR300 that was tested positive of the new strain had submitted a negative RT-PCR result prior to flight from Manila.