Home Oro Health Office, DOH on guard against COVID-19 variant ‘B117’

Oro Health Office, DOH on guard against COVID-19 variant ‘B117’


The latest coronavirus variant ‘B117’ is yet to enter the Philippines, and health officials heighten measures to keep it that way.

The likelihood of foreigners or Filipino balikbayans infected with the mutated variant of COVID-19 coming home to Cagayan de Oro City is remote to non-existent, the City Health Office (CHO) said Tuesday, January 5.

“The Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental province through which all passengers arrive en route to Cagayan de Oro City is a secondary airport which means it doesn’t serve international flights. Any and all passengers arriving in the city were screened at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila and other international airports in the country,” CHO epidemiologist Dr. Teodulfo Joselito Retuya Jr. said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III confirmed in a video posted on the Department of Health (DOH) website that the mutated COVID-19 variant called B117 is more contagious than the original SARS-CoV2 strain. But Duque said there is still no evidence that B117 is more deadly than COVID-19. However, to contain the latest variant from entering and spreading throughout the country, the national government issued a travel ban on countries with reported B117 cases.

“All major entry points are being screened and I know that the DOH is kept busy coordinating with all agencies concerned (in monitoring and enforcing the travel restrictions on these countries). We also have our own measures but nevertheless we will abide by the directives of the DOH,” Dr. Retuya said.

(Source: City Information Office)

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