BAGUIO CITY, April 13(PIA) -- Two of the COVID-19 cases of Apayao are among those with the newly detected P3 variant by the Department of Health and the Philippine Genome Center.
The Apayao Provincial Health Office (PHO) reported that both cases are from Conner municipality, a 21 year-old female from Barangay Calafug and a 26 year-old male government employee from Barangay Malama. Both tested positive in March and have been declared as already recovered.
The PHO technical working group in coordination with the Rural Health Unit of Conner will conduct re-testing of all line-listed as close contacts of the two cases in order to determine possible cases of P3 variant transmission in the municipality.
The Provincial Inter Agency Task Force is also set to conduct field monitoring in Conner immediately and intensify expanded testing in Barangays Malama and Calafug in the next two weeks.
PIATF Chairperson, Governor Eleanor Bulut-Begtang, advised the public to remain calm and continue adherence to all the health and safety protocols to ensure safety against the COVID-19.
With the reported presence of the P3 variant, Begtang stressed that the public should really protect themselves from contracting COVID-19 simply by following the minimum public health standards such as wearing of facemasks and face shields, washing or sanitizing of hands, maintaining social and physical distancing and avoiding mass gatherings and other crowd drawing activities.
The Governor also called for the public's support for the vaccination program being conducted by the government which is seen to significantly mitigate COVID transmission.
On April 11, 2021, the DOH, PGC, and University of the Philippines - National Institutes of Health reported the detection of 170 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant which was first detected in the UK; 192 cases of B.1.351 variant (South African); one P.1 variant case (Brazil), and 19 P3 variant cases among two batches of 25 samples sequenced on March 28, and 1,336 samples sequenced between March 28 to April 8, 2021.
The DOH said that while the P3 variant, which was first detected in the Philippines, has some of the characteristics of the more transmissible UK, African and Brazil variants, it is not yet considered as a variant of concern as current data available are insufficient to conclude that it will have significant implications to public health. This is still being ascertained by the DOH and the World Health Organization. (JDP/RMC- PIA-CAR)