MANILA - The Department of Health said Friday it was yet to receive an official statement from the World Health Organization regarding the community transmission of COVID-19 variants in the country.
"Up to now, we still have not received from WHO an official statement to inform us that based on their assessment, there is already community transmission among these variants that we have already detected here in the country," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters.
However, she noted that on their part, this was an "assumption" as more people were detected to have the virus variants.
In a separate interview, Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the UN health agency's representative in the Philippines, said there was "some degree to community transmission" of the UK and South Africa variants in Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces.
The UK variant was first detected in the Philippines in January while the South Africa variant was reported in March.
In March, the DOH earlier confirmed that the more transmissible coronavirus variants had already been detected in all Metro Manila cities but it would be up to the WHO to declare whether there was community transmission.
For Vergeire, this remark from the WHO should not cause fear from the public.
"Whatever variants that we have right now, whether we have community transmission or not, we still do the same response. We protect ourselves by complying health protocols and have ourselves vaccinated," she said.