CEBU CITY – The naming of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variants found in Region 7 as “Central Visayas Variant” (CVV) is unfair, officials here on Wednesday said.
Department of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas chief pathologist Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said they received reports about the P.3 variants found in the region which are being named as CVV, instead of Philippine variant.
The said reports include a publication material from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) referring to the said variant as the CVV, while other variants have been named after countries like United Kingdom (UK), Brazil and South Africa where other Covid-19 variants have been detected.
“Here we are, we have a P.3 variant. Why rename it as a Central Visayas Variant? Are we a separate place from the entire Philippines? It shouldn’t be like that,” Loreche told the media at the sidelines of the send-off ceremony for the 50 medical volunteers bound for the National Capital Region.
Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) said he will write a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte on the matter, reiterating Loreche’s view that naming such variant after the region “is unfair”.
Dino said the effort to combat Covid-19 in Central Visayas is very successful, citing the actions from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in addressing the surge in cases in the city.
He also cited the Project Balik Buhay that helped health authorities in detecting cases, which also led to the discovery of variants of concern.
“We have now our Visayas Vaccines Operations Center in partnership with the Project Balik Buhay’s chairman Edmun Liu for the vaccine rollout not only in Central Visayas but for the entire Visayas covering three regions,” Dino said.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia told reporters tagging the new variants of Covid-19 after Central Visayas will have a negative impact on the provincial government’s effort to revive the economy.
“It’s unfair and reckless. I would caution those that have taken it upon themselves to call this variant of concern as Central Visayas variant, unless they really believe Central Visayas or Cebu for that matter is another country,” she said. “In fact, this morning, we showed that we are indeed a part of the Philippines as we send our healthcare personnel to help our brothers and sisters (in NCR)”.
An April 6 report from the Philippine Genome Center showed 500 cases of Covid-19 variants nationwide.
The report said such variants were discovered after subjecting 4,751 to sequencing nationwide. It said of this number, 4,050 are with variant lineage.
The PGC report broke down those variants as: UK variant (B.1.1.7) with 237 cases; Central Visayas variant, 104 cases; South Africa variant (B.1.351), 163 cases; and Brazil variant (P.1), one case. (PNA)