GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) has detected at least 19 cases of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variants among confirmed patients from Region 12 (Soccsksargen).
A report on Tuesday by DOH-12 said the cases mostly involved returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who tested positive of the disease upon arrival in Manila and have since recovered.
It recorded 10 with the B.1.1.7 or the United Kingdom variant, four with B.1.351 or South African variant, and one each with P.1 or Brazilian and B.1.167 or Indian mutant strains. Two cases were listed as “variants of concern/mutation with potential clinical significance” one with P.3 or the strain earlier detected in the country.
This city and North Cotabato have seven cases each, South Cotabato has four while Sultan Kudarat has one.
The DOH-12 confirmed the first variant case in the region in late April and it reached 12 as of the second week of May.
Arjohn Gangoso, DOH-12 health education and promotion officer, said the confirmed cases of the new variants were based on the genome sequencing results relayed as of June 1 by the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) and National Institutes of Health.
He said some of the patients, especially the returning OFWs, only returned to the region after being cleared or declared to have recovered from the disease.
“Proper contact tracing and containment measures were also conducted by the RHUs (rural health units) for all cases,” he said in a phone interview.
Gangoso said the RHUs, hospitals and the regional epidemiology and surveillance unit have been continually sending samples to UP-PGC to check for possible cases of the new strains in the area.
He reiterated that the new variants have not been the cause of the surge of Covid-19 cases in the region but still the original strain first detected in Wuhan, China.
“We can stop the spread of Covid-19, including the new variants, by religiously complying with the health protocols and avoiding mass gatherings,” he said. (PNA)