DOH: No new Covid-19 variant in Bicol region

By Mar S. Arguelles


The Department of Health (DOH) Bicol regional office on Monday, Apr. 26 has allayed fears that there are new Covid-19 variants in Bicol.


Dr. Ferchito Avelino, DOH assistant regional director, in a news briefing announced that there are no cases yet of the new Covid-19 variant in the region, except for the case of a returning Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) from Camarines Sur who tested positive for the Covid-19 UK variant.


Bicolanos were getting scared due to reports that the new Covid-19 variants could have infected patients that triggered the rising number of infections in Bicol.


Avelino said the case of the returning OFW from Camarines Sur was properly managed and handled, citing 160 samples of Covid-19 test from people who had close contact with the OFW. The samples were sent to Metro Manila on Apr. 14 for genomic sequencing test to determine the presence of new variant.


He said it would take three to four weeks for the result to come out.


The Department of Health (DOH), the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) report said Bicol was not included in the list of regions that were detected with additional new variants B.1.1.7 UK variant, B.1.351 the South African variant, P.3 variant, which were detected in the Philippines.


The report as of April 20 showed that 266 cases of the B.1.1.7 (UK variant) were detected in regions CAR, Regions, 1, 2, 3, IV-A, NCR, X, 12, Caraga.


Regions detected with the B.1.351 (South African) variants with 351 cases are CAR, Regions 1, 4-A, NCR, and Caraga.


For the P3 (Philippine variant), 23 cases were reported from Regions 4-A, NCR, 10, and Caraga.