Protocol breach, increased mobility, variants behind COVID-19 surge in PH - DOH

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2021 08:51 AM | Updated as of Mar 16 2021 09:24 AM

Pedestrians wear masks on their way to a bus station in Quezon City on March 5, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Breaches in health protocols, increased mobility of people and presence of different coronavirus variants are among the factors driving the sharp rise of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines, a health official said Tuesday.

"In terms of transmission rate, there are breaches in the health protocols that we are implementing," Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho, director of Department of Health's disease prevention and control bureau, told ANC.

"We can't also discount that the variants have an effect on increase of transmission rate."

"Also, you'll see that because of the gradual opening up that we've been undertaking, we have seen there are more interaction, more mobility among the population that will inevitably drive the increased contact rates," she added.

On Monday, the Philippines recorded an additional 5,404 new COVID-19 cases, the fourth highest reported in a day since the pandemic started, raising the country's tally to 626,893.

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Last week, health authorities also confirmed a new COVID-19 variant first detected in the Philippines, calling it P.3.

"Currently, it’s still labeled as not a variant of concern," Ho said. A virus is only considered a variant of concern if it has clinical significance.

Latest DOH data showed that the Philippines has recorded 98 P.3 cases. 

Aside from the new variant, the country also detected the variants found in Brazil, South Africa and the UK.

The first case of the Brazil variant was discovered in a Filipino who had returned from the Latin American country.

So far, the Philippines has 117 cases of UK variant and 90 cases of South Africa variant.

The Philippine government has reintroduced tougher restrictions on movement in the capital region to curb of the spread of the novel coronavirus.