UK variant behind spike in COVID cases in Cebu? Too early to say - DOH

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 29 2021 06:36 PM | Updated as of Jan 29 2021 07:07 PM

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MANILA — The Department of Health on Friday said it is premature to suggest that the more transmissible COVID-19 variant is already in Cebu because of the increase in cases in the province.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire agreed with the OCTA Group that raised concerns about how Cebu province, including Cebu City, is averaging 147 cases a day in the past week.

“Totoo yan. Nakikita natin talagang tumataas ang kaso sa Cebu and hindi lang sa Cebu sa ibang areas of the country. And we have been flagging this since the 2nd week of January. In spite na ang Metro Manila nagstable ang numbers dito hindi masyadong tumataas,” she said.

(That’s true. We have seen that cases in Cebu are increasing and not just in Cebu but other areas of the country. And we have been flagging this since the 2nd week of January. In spite of the numbers in Metro Manila stabilizing and not increasing that much.)

However, she disagreed with OCTA Group raising the possibility that the increase might be due to the more transmissible variant, first detected in the United Kingdom.

“It is really too early. Mahirap tayo magsabi ng mga factors kung bakit tumataas at masasabi ba natin na variant 'yan hanggang hindi tayo sigurado. Because this might cause panic sa mga tao,” she said.

(It is really too early. It’s hard to talk about the factors for the increase and to say the variant is one of those as we are not yet sure. Because this might cause panic among the people.)

Vergeire said as much as they want people to strictly comply with minimum health standards, she said any announcement on the UK variant should be reserved until there is actual evidence.

The said the next round of genome sequencing results might be released on Monday.

For now, she said people should continue to be cautious and to comply with minimum health standards to address the rise in cases.