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DOH: No UK variant found in 48 samples sequenced

Due to the global shortage of reagents for high throughput whole genome sequencing, the Department of Health reported that the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) was able to sequence only 48 samples for the fourth batch and none was positive for B.1.1.7 or UK variant.

Of the 48 samples, 23 cases came from the National Capital Region that were mostly from Quezon City, 19 from Calabarzon with most cases from Laguna, four from the Cordillera Region, and two were returning overseas Filipinos.

The DOH also reported that seven of these cases are already tagged as recovered, while the rest are active, and are either asymptomatic or mild cases.

In their report, the UP-PGC said they were only able to sequence samples from two ROFs as these are the only samples that met the minimum amount and cycle threshold value required for sequencing.

The PGC is also set to sequence another 48 samples this week, including samples from CAR and other targeted areas, while waiting for the kits and reagents for genomic sequencing.

While no new cases have been detected, the DOH reiterates that the minimum public health standards remain the best precautionary measure against Covid-19 infection regardless of the variant.

“Thus, the public is urged to strictly adhere to these standards, especially when going to public places, by properly wearing face masks and face shields, maintaining a one-meter distance from other people, limiting the time of interaction with others, ensuring proper air circulation in any establishments or venues, and to regularly sanitize hands,” it said.

11K RECOVERIES

The DOH also reported 11,653 new Covid-19 recoveries, pushing the country’s overall tally of recovered cases to 487,551, or 92.8 percent of those who tested positive for the virus.

In its 4 p.m. case bulletin, the DOH also said there were 2,103 new confirmed cases and 80 new deaths, bringing the overall tally of active cases to 27,318, and the death toll to 10,749.

The department said of the active cases, about 87.7 percent are mild, 5.5 percent are asymptomatic, 2.8 percent are severe, 0.60 percent are moderate, and 3.3 percent are in critical condition.

“One duplicate was removed from the total case count and was tagged a recovered case. Moreover, five cases that were previously tagged as recovered were reclassified as deaths after final validation,” it added.

The DOH said 10 laboratories were not able to submit their data to the Covid-19 Data Repository System on Jan. 30.

Some 21,400 beds are dedicated to patients with Covid-19.

Available are 59 percent of 1,900 intensive care unit beds, 65 percent of 13,500 isolation beds, and 75 percent of 6,000 ward beds. About 1,580 ventilators are available for Covid-19 patients’ use.*PNA

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