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All cases with coronavirus mutations have recovered from COVID-19 —DOH, PGC

All cases in Central Visayas which were found to have two coronavirus mutations of concern have recovered from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) and Philippine Genome Center (PGC) said Friday.

“All the cases in Central Visayas with the two mutations of concern exhibited only mild symptoms and have been cleared from their quarantine,” PGC Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Saloma said during a virtual briefing.

DOH Central Visayas Director Jaime Bernadas added that most cases were mild “and two were even asymptomatic.”

“I presume every one of them are already out [of] their homes and their communities,” he said.

“We will be looking back within and around their vicinity, increase or heighten surveillance for cases, and even look for the possible correlation between their locations and the community they are from so that we could get more surveillance samples.”

On Thursday, DOH Region 7 announced that the PGC detected two more transmissible mutations of concern in samples from Cebu.

Saloma said both mutations, E484K and N501Y, were detected in 31 of 50 samples.

She said the two mutations are “of concern to the global community” as they are present in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa variants.

In the same briefing, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said it's hard to conclude that the surge in COVID-19 cases in Central Visayas was caused by two recently detected mutations of concern.

Duque said a number of factors may have contributed to the “steep” rise in infections noted by the DOH Epidemiology Bureau.

“Mahirap mong iugnay ‘yan nang gano’n na lamang or ng direktamenteng pag-uugnay, kasi marami rin tayong ibang factors na dapat alamin o obserbahan,” he said during a virtual briefing.

Duque pointed out that Cebu has been under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the least stringent category.

Bernadas said local government units in the region have agreed to intensify containment and contact tracing measures and expand the health system capacity in the next two weeks.

Local health facilities have also prepared for a possible surge in infections.

“We need really a reassessment one or two weeks from now, what will our intensified efforts bring,” Bernadas said.—AOL/KBK, GMA News