Due to the global shortage of sequencing reagents for high throughput whole genome sequencing, the Department of Health (DOH) reports that the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) was able to sequence only 48 samples for the fourth batch of sequencing, and none of which was positive for the B.1.1.7 variant.

Of the 48 samples, 23 cases came from the National Capital Region which were mostly from Quezon City; 19 from CALABARZON with most cases from Laguna; 4 from the Cordillera Region; and 2 were returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).

The DOH also reports that 7 of these cases are already tagged as recovered, while the rest are active that are either asymptomatic or mild cases.

In their report, the UP-PGC said that they were only able to sequence samples from two ROFs as these two are the only samples that met the minimum amount and cycle threshold value required for sequencing.

Moreover, the PGC is also set to sequence another 48 samples this coming week, including samples from CAR and other targeted areas, while waiting for the kits and reagents for genomic sequencing.

While no new cases have been detected, the DOH reiterates that the minimum public health standards remain the best precautionary measure against COVID-19 infection regardless of the variant. Thus, the public is urged to strictly adhere to these standards, specially when going to public places, by properly wearing face masks and face shields, maintaining a one-meter distance from other people, limiting the time of interaction to others, ensuring proper air circulation in any establishments or venues, and to regularly sanitize hands.