DOH pushes strict compliance to health protocols amid reported detection of Vietnam Covid variant

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire


A Department of Health (DOH) official on Monday said that they are still awaiting for the “guidance” of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the need to impose restrictions on the entry of travelers from Vietnam amid the reported detection of a new Covid-19 mutation that reportedly combine variants first identified in India and the UK.


“The World Health Organization has not released the full details yet [regarding the new variant detected in Vietnam]. We are waiting for their guidance. As of now, there is no significant evidence yet,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a mix of Filipino and English during Monday’s online media forum with health reporters.


While there is still no “validated information” from WHO, the DOH official said that there is still no travel ban of travellers from Vietnam.


Vergeire also said that the public should not panic following the reported new variant.


“Alalahanin po natin, di po natin kailangan mag panic dahil po sa balitang ito. Pag -igtingin lang po natin ang ating [We should remember, there is no need to panic because of this news. We just need to strengthen our] health protocols and we will be protected from any of these variants,” Vergeire stressed.


Vietnam’s Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long was quoted in reports as saying, “We have discovered a new hybrid variant from the Indian and the UK strains.” This variant is reportedly “easily transmissible by air.”


In the country, data from DOH showed that the University of the Philippines (UP)-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) and UP-National Institutes of Health have sequenced a total of 7,547 Covid-19-positive samples to detect the variants.


Of these, 2,494 have variants being closely monitored by DOH with only 26 cases remaining active.


Vergeire reiterated the need for strict adherence to minimum public health standards, and early detection and isolation of cases to minimize transmission of Covid-19 and further prevent the emergence of new variants.


DOH also encourages everyone to get vaccinated for added protection against the severe form of the disease.

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