The city government through the City Health Office reiterates its appeal for cooperation and for widespread compliance with the prescribed minimum health and safety protocol in light of the recent confirmation of the presence of the South African COVID-19 variant in Zamboanga.
City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) head Dr. Ivy Iturralde underscored the need for public support in stemming community transmission given that the South African variant is more contagious and easier to spread due to its mutation.
“Mas mabilis po yung pagkalat ng virus, mas dadami ang maoospital o mapupunta sa health facilities and, most probably, mas marami po ang mamamatay,” the city health official said.
Iturralde added that this variant is harder to detect and more difficult to treat, “Itong variant of concern po natin, meron syang impact sa ating testing and even sa ating mga gamot kasalukuyang binibigay sa ating COVID patients. Pwede hindi na ito ma-detect gamit ang ating testing kits dahil sa mutation nito. Pwede ring hindi na magri-respond sa mga gamot na binibigay.”
While the city government commits to further strengthen its “prevent, detect, isolate, treat and reintegrate” strategy, Zamboangueños can contribute to fight against COVID-19 by complying with the minimum public health standards to avoid a mirroring of the experiences in other countries.
“Ayaw nating matulad sa ibang lugar o ibang bansa kung saan hindi na nakakayanan ng healthcare workers, nagkakaroon na ng burnout among medical professionals so eventually nagko-collapse ang health system,” Iturralde entreated. “Mas mahihirapan po tayo sa pagsugpo nitong pandemya.”
On May 30, the Department of Health and the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) confirmed the presence of the South African variant in Zamboanga City based on tests conducted on 257 samples. (Claudine Uniana)