Public urged not to be complacent on new COVID-19 variant

BAGUIO CITY (29 January 2021) – Local health authorities urged the public not to be complacent for them not to contract the new variant of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019 as there are yet no direct indications that the UK variant is already in the city.

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said that of the 250 swab specimens from the Cordillera that were submitted to the Philippine Genome Center for genome sequencing, 75 samples came from those who tested positive for the deadly virus in the city.

However, she claimed that there no official reports yet on whether or not there are samples from the city that tested positive for the new variant.

The city health officer pointed out that La Trinidad, Benguet and Bontoc, Mountain province which earlier reported to have recorded a total of 13 cases of the new variant is just around the city, thus, it is still best for the residents to adhere to the implementation of the basic health and safety protocols as it is still the best way to prevent them from contracting the original virus and the new variant.

Earlier, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong disclosed that it is safe to presume that the new variant of the virus is now in the city because there are residents from La Trinidad and Bontoc who frequently travel to the city over the past several months.

Galpo stipulated that aggressive contact tracing on the close contacts of the confirmed UK variant cases in La Trinidad and Bontoc is currently being undertaken to ascertain their linkages to some of the confirmed COVID cases in the city who earlier tested positive for the original virus so that their swab specimens could be submitted to the Philippine Genome Center for the conduct of the required genome sequencing.

The medical officer appealed to the residents not to lower their guards because the new variant is more infectious than the original one that it is still best for everyone to stay in their homes if they have nothing essential to do outside to prevent them from being exposed to the elements that might cause them to contract the virus.

Among the prevailing basic health and safety protocols being enforced in the city include the mandatory wearing of face masks and face shields, the observance of physical distancing and the practice of personal hygiene and proper sanitation.

Under existing city ordinances, the failure of people to wear their masks and observe physical distancing will be penalized.

Galpo asserted that residents should care for their health and the health of their family members and relatives to ensure that they will remain healthy for them to be able to pursue their productive economic activities that will uplift the living condition of their families to cope with the serious negative effects of the pandemic. – Dexter A. See