PH has 18 small COVID-19 ‘clusters’ but no ‘super-spreader’ — DOH

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 24 2020 07:35 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it has yet to detect a “super-spreader” or a COVID-19 patient who was able to infect several people in the Philippines.

“Ayon po sa latest natin na datos, nakapagtala po tayo ng 18 clusters sa iba’t ibang rehiyon,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing when asked if there is a “super-spreader” in the Philippines.

(Based on our latest data, we have recorded 18 clusters in different regions.)

She said the clusters of infection are small and isolated.

Vergeire explained that super-spreaders are COVID-infected individuals who can infect more than the usual two to three persons.

Back in February, people were concerned that a British businessman was a super-spreader as he was linked to dozens of patients all over the world after he went on various trips abroad.

South Korea also considered the possibility of having a super-spreader after one patient was linked to 15 other people.

In the case of the Philippines, Vergeire said what they are seeing so far are clusters or groups of people with COVID-19 from the same household, community or city.

“Dahil diyan tayo ay nagsasagawa ng extensive contact tracing upang masabihan at mabigyan ng kaukulang medical assistance ang mga naging direct contact ng ating mga pasyente,” the health official said.

(Because of that, we’re doing extensive contact tracing so we can give adequate medical assistance to those with direct contact to our patients.)

Super-spreaders were detected in past epidemics. The WHO has said it prefers to use the term “super-spreading event” instead of referring to a person because of possible discrimination.

On Wednesday, the DOH showed diagrams of how certain patients were connected to each other. Some went to the same mall or the same senate hearing. Another cluster involved patients who all attended cockfighting events in Mindanao.

As of Friday, there have been 7,192 total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Of these, 762 have recovered and 477 have died.