Three travelers who came from South Africa, Egypt, and Burkina Faso were found to be positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday, Dec. 3.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that a total of 253 travelers from South Africa, three individuals from Burkina Faso, and 541 travelers from Egypt arrived in the Philippines between Nov. 15 to 29.
“Each of these countries, nagkaroon ng isang traveler who tested positive for COVID-19 (had one traveler who tested positive for COVID-19),” said Vergeire.
“Lahat po yan ng nagpositive na yan, as long as CT [cycle threshold] values are appropriate, ipapadala po natin sa Philippine Genome Center for whole genome sequencing (All those who have tested positive, as long as CT values are appropriate, we will send them to the Philippine Genome Center for whole genome sequencing),” she added.
Vergeire said that the Bureau of Quarantine, Department of Interior and Local Government, as well as local government units were tasked by the country’s pandemic task force to “locate passengers from Nov. 15 to 29.”
Inbound flights have been temporarily suspended from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy until Dec. 15 due to the threat of the Omicron variant.
The DOH spokesperson said that all incoming travelers, who will test positive for COVID-19, will be subjected for whole genome sequencing.
“Ang ginagawa natin purposive pa rin tayo pero lahat ng returning overseas Filipinos na nagpopositive, sina-subject natin iyan sa genome sequencing (What we are doing is still purposive but all returning overseas Filipinos who are positive, we will subject them to). We will find out and hopefully with this strategy of ours, we can be able to immediately detect or determine kung nandito na nga ang Omicron (if Omicron is already here),” she said.