By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Provincial Health Office (PHO) in Negros Occidental urged Negrenses to be more vigilant after it was confirmed earlier this week that the United Kingdom (UK) variant of coronavrius disease 2019, or COVID-19, has already entered the country.
PHO head, Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, said the new variant is far more contagious compared to the original variant, although as of the moment there is currently no evidence that it is deadlier.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to drop in the province, Tumimbang urged the Negrenses to continue practicing minimum health protocols such as wearing face masks and face shields, as well as observing physical distancing.
Tumimbang further advised the public to get vaccinated once the COVID-19 vaccines become available, pointing out its protection.
The PHO head also supports the provincial government’s decision to continue securing its borders by subjecting those entering the province to undergo COVID-19 testing and quarantine.
Meanwhile, previously in his New Year’s Day message, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson urged the Negrenses to be cautious of the new strain of COVID-19.
The new COVID-19 strain, called the SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01, or “B.1.1.7.,” was first discovered in UK in September 2020 and was believed to be responsible for the recent spike in cases.
Although noted to be 70% more infectious, UK medical experts believe that the new strain could be less deadlier than the original strain.
To recall, the first recorded Filipino infected with the UK strain in the country is a male resident from Quezon City who arrived from Dubai last January 7.
Earlier this month, another person, a female overseas Filipino worker from Cagayan province who arrived in Hong Kong, was also found infected with the UK variant and it is still unclear as to how she was infected with the new variant as she had no prior travel history./DGB, WDJ