PH yet to detect recombinant variants as COVID cases plateau: health dept

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 08 2022 04:46 PM

People exit the Quiapo Church after hearing the Friday Mass on March 11, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
People exit the Quiapo Church after hearing the Friday Mass on March 11, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippines has yet to detect a case of recombinant variants XD, XE, and XF as its COVID-19 infections plateaued, the Department of Health said Friday.

The latest run of genome sequencing last month detected omicron in 80 percent of the samples and 2 cases of the delta variant in Cagayan Valley and Western Visayas, according Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

"Wala pa ho tayong nadedetect nitong sinasabing recombinant na mga virus dito sa ating bansa wala pa ho tayo nadetect na XE, XF, at XD," she told reporters.

(We have not yet detected a recombinant variant in the country. We have not yet detcted XE, XF, and XD.)

The country's genome sequencing is not extensive, Vergeire admitted as she said the DOH "cannot really be certain" that the recombinant variants have not yet entered the Philippines.

At the same time, the XE has been characterized as having 10 percent more growth advantage or faster transmissibility than omicron, according to Vergeire,

"Sa ngayon nakikita po natin ang areas natin still maintain the minimal risk case classification. Wala pa tayong nakikitang pagtaas ng admissions," she said.

(Right now we can see our areasstill maintain the minimal risk case classification. We haven't recorded an increase in hospital admission.)

"May minomonitor areas (Some areas are being monitored) but there's no really significant increase (in number of cases) yet."

The Philippines last week recorded an average of 357 new COVID-19 cases per day, down 2 percent from the previous week, Vergeire said. Its positivity rate declined to 1.8 percent last week versus 2 percent the previous week, Vergeire added.

Some 31,206 virus patients are asymptomatic or have mild to moderate symptoms while 1,257 suffer from severe and critical illness, according to the spokesperson.

The DOH has attributed the decline in virus infections to high vaccination coverage and the public's adherence to minimum health standards.

Some 12.3 million out of 66.5 million fully vaccinated persons have received their booster shot as of Thursday, Vergeire said. Around 1.1 million children ages 5 to 11 have been fully inoculated while 9 million adolescents have received their primary series, she added.

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