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The Department of Health (DOH) MIMAROPA regional office said they have yet to study whether or not a new COVID-19 variant is present in Puerto Princesa City and is behind the rapid rise in the number of positive cases in the city.

Regional director Dr. Mario Baquilod said Tuesday that the DOH has not conducted any test to determine such possibility, adding he is not aware of the request reportedly made earlier by the City Incident Management Team (City IMT).

“Wala pa akong confirmation kung mayroon na tayong new variant dito sa Puerto Princesa City. Let me check pagbalik ko sa Manila but as of today, I cannot confirm na may bagong variant ng COVID-19,” Baquilod told Palawan News.

He added that the DOH is also requesting for a sample of the virus.

“Kung highly suspicious, kapag nag-positive sa RT-PCR, we request ‘yong sample para ma-check,” Baquilod said.

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Following the surge of the cases, five barangays in the city were placed under localized lockdown until April 30 while some towns also implements strict border controls to prevent further spread of the virus.

The city has recorded a record total 298 active cases and has eight deaths from Covid-19.

On Tuesday, DOH officials including Assistant Secretary Maria Francia Laxamana attended the inauguration of the first Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory of the provincial government to enhance the testing and detection capability for the COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.