All inbound travelers who test positive for COVID-19 are now being subjected to genome sequencing to check for the presence of the more contagious variant of the virus, the Department of Health said.
This directive came after the country detected its first confirmed case of the more transmissible variant first seen in the UK: a 29-year-old Filipino who arrived from Dubai.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, “There was this instruction already that [the samples of] all arriving passengers who will test positive will be subjected to genome sequencing.”
Previously, authorities conducted only random genome sequencing of the samples of incoming travelers who tested positive for COVID-19.
Genomic sequencing analyzes a sample taken from a diagnosed patient and compares it with others to determine the structure of the virus as well as mutations.
Vergeire added it is “not feasible” for the country to shut its borders completely.