Health expert says minimum health standards remain effective in preventing COVID-19 spread

Published November 26, 2021, 1:36 PM

by Manila Bulletin


Amid the rise of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variants, the adherence to minimum public health standards such as the proper wearing of masks and washing of hands, remain effective in preventing the spread of the disease, an infectious disease expert reiterated on Friday, Nov. 26.

Infectious disease expert and Department of Health technical advisory group member Edsel Salvana said that while the presence of COVID-19 mutations is alarming, it does not automatically mean that they are more transmissible and deadlier.

“Sa ngayon kaunti pa lang ang alam natin [sa bagong South African variant]. ‘Yung mutations naman na nakikita natin…it doesn’t necessarily translate into real-world, (Right now, we know very little [about the new South African variant]. The mutations that we’re seeing… it doesn’t necessarily translate into real-world),” Salvana said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

The new variant, also known as B.1.1.529, was first detected in South Africa and is linked to the resurgence of infections in the region.

“While nakakabahala ‘yung presence of certain mutations, hindi automatic na mas namamatay ito, mas nata-transmit, o mas bumababa ‘yung epekto ng ating vaccines (While the presence of certain mutations are concerning, it doesn’t automatically mean that it is deadlier, transmissible, or that it decreases the effectivity of vaccines),” he added.

Salvana then cited the COVID-19 variant discovered in the Philippines named P3, also called Theta, adding that the mutations of this variant are concerning, but it did not become a variant of concern like Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta.

“One thing is for sure, kahit anong variant pa ‘yan, gumagana pa rin po ang paggamit ng masks, at ating [pagsunod sa] minimum health standards [ay] mape-prevent po ‘yan. Tapos ‘yung ating bakuna po, most likely ay tuluy-tuloy pa rin ang protection against severe disease (One thing is for sure, whatever variant that is, the effectivity of wearing of masks, adherence to minimum health standards will prevent it. Our vaccines, most likely will continuously protect us against severe disease),” Salvana explained.

The expert said that the Philippines is doing its best to continuously prevent the entry of new COVID-19 variants in the country. (Charie Mae F. Abarca)