No new UK variant case reported, says DOH

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    THE number of COVID-19 cases of the UK variant remained at 17 on Saturday based on genome sequencing conducted by the Philippine Genome Center on 48 samples, the Department of Health said on Saturday night.

    “The PGC was able to sequence only 48 samples for the fourth batch of sequencing, and none of which was positive for the B.1.1.7 variant,” the DOH said in a statement.”

    The health department said 23 samples came from the National Capital Region, 19 from CALABARZON, four from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and two were returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).

    The DOH noted that 41 of those tested remains active cases that are either asymptomatic or mild, while sevem have already been tagged as recovered.

    The DOH said the PGC was supposed to include more samples in the sequencing efforts but was unable to do so due to the global shortage in sequencing reagents for high throughput whole genome sequencing.

    But despite the shortage, the department said “the PGC is still set to sequence another 48 samples this coming week, including samples from CAR and other targeted areas.”

    Last month, the DOH reported the first UK variant case in the Philippines in the person of a 29-year old male from Quezon City, who recently returned from Dubai.

    Weeks later, the DOH also detected an additional 16 UK variant cases, with 12 coming from Bontoc, Mountain Province; 1 each from La Trinidad, Benguet and in Calamba City, Laguna; and 2 ROFs from Lebanon.