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Bacolod acts to avert entry of Covid variant

BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III

Stricter protocols will be implemented in Bacolod City, especially after health authorities have confirmed that the mutated variant of coronavirus disease 2019 has already entered the Philippines.

Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy for medical and data analysis of the Emergency Operations Center, said the city implements stern border controls to ensure that the virus variant will not enter Bacolod.

Sorongon said they added as a requirement a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test valid for 72 hours upon arrival of a returning overseas Filipino worker.

On top of that, returning OFWs will be obliged to undergo additional week of strict home quarantine, Sorongon added.

In an advisory Wednesday, the Department of Health and the Philippine Genome Center confirmed that the B.1.1.7. SARS-CoV-2 variant, also known as the UK variant, has been detected in a male resident of Quezon City.

The DOH said the man returned home from the United Arab Emirates on Jan. 7 after a business trip.

The agency urged local government units to map out measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 UK variant, that is believed to spread faster than the dominant strain and was first detected in UK and is allegedly responsible for about 60 percent new infections in London.

The EOC assured the residents of Bacolod that they will exert efforts to prevent the entry of the new strain to the city.

Meanwhile, Sorongon said that Janssen, owned by American Company Johnson and Johnson, has yet to communicate with the EOC on the selection of individuals, who will participate in the clinical trial for their Covid vaccine.

Dr. Adonis Guancia, principal investigator of J&J’s clinical trial in Bacolod, said they will let the EOC choose the participants for their clinical trial that is now on its third phase.

Although they have not received any formal communication yet, Sorongon said the EOC is willing to cooperate with J&J. The firm earlier said that those who want to participate in the trial should be 18 years old and above, of good health condition, and have not received any vaccine against Covid.*

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