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Genome results of traveler from South Africa, 11 ROFs may be released Tuesday –DOH

The results of the genome sequencing for the traveler from South Africa and 11 others who tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in the Philippines may be released as early as Tuesday, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

At a media briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 12 samples from returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) are currently undergoing genome sequencing at the Philippine Genome Center.

“Sa ngayon, itong mga tine-test natin meron tayong 12 samples ng ROFs na nira-run natin ngayon sa smaller machine ng Philippine Genome Center for a faster processing time,” Vergeire said.

(At present, we are testing 12 samples from ROFs using the PGC's smaller machines for a faster processing time.)

“So hopefully by tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday morning, makuha natin agad ang mga resulta nito. Kasama nito ‘yung sa South African na nag positibo,” she added.

(So, hopefully, by tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday morning, we can get the results of these samples. The South African who tested positive is included in this.)

In a radio interview Tuesday, Vergeire said the 12 ROFs are from South Africa, the Netherlands, Turkey, Jordan, Peru, Angola, the United States, and China.

The DOH last week reported that three travelers from South Africa, Burkina Faso, and Egypt tested positive for COVID-19.

Vergeire said the close contacts of the traveler from South Africa had mild symptoms.

“As to the close contacts na sinasabi nung sa South Africa, nai-report natin kanina na naka-quarantine. Lahat po ay may mild o asymptomatic o kaya ay may mild na kaso ‘yung nag positibo,” she said.

(As to the close contacts of the South Africa traveler, we reported earlier that they had been quarantined. All have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, or the one who tested positive had mild symptoms.)

Meanwhile, of the 253 travelers that arrived from South Africa from November 15 to November 29, Vergeire said eight have been verified but have not yet been located.

Meanwhile, 80 have been verified and located, of which 77 are returning overseas Filipinos and three are foreign nationals from Region VI.

Seventy-one had been facility quarantined, including the three foreign nationals, four ROFs are in-home quarantine, and five have been discharged following their 14-day quarantine period.

The Philippines imposed travel restrictions on Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Netherlands, and Switzerland.

The government announced the temporary restrictions two days after South Africa detected the Omicron variant, a variant of concern that has 50 mutations. — DVM/RSJ, GMA News