ILOILO CITY—The Department of Health (DOH-6) assured no new variant of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) exists in Western Visayas region.
Dr. Mary Jane Juanico, DOH-6 chief of the infectious disease cluster, belied claims there may be a new COVID-19 variant in the region after there was a sudden spike of cases for the past three weeks.
In particular, local officials in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental province have expressed alarm as it recorded hundreds of new COVID-19 cases on a daily basis.
“As of now, there is no evidence that new variants are in Region 6,” Juanico reiterated.
In an online press briefing, Juanico pointed out the Philippine Genome Center was not able to detect any new COVID-19 variant from the almost 50 specimens sent from various areas of Western Visayas.
Despite the absence of new COVID-19 variant, Juanico said that Negros Occidental province is considered high risk while Antique province, Capiz, province, Iloilo City, and Bacolod City are moderate risk.
Juanico also clarified that the two previous cases of returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) were technically not recorded in Western Visayas region. While they are from Western Visayas, it was detected while they underwent quarantine in Metro Manila and were already considered recovered when they were allowed to go back home in the region.
As of April 19, there are 4,263 active cases in Western Visayas with 296 new cases and 11 new deaths.