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Cebu News

Health authorities on alert over Covid-19 FLiRT variant

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman
Health authorities on alert over Covid-19 FLiRT variant
Individuals walk along the LRT Monumento Station during rush hour in Caloocan on May 16, 2024.
STAR/ Ryan Baldemor

CEBU, Philippines — Just as when everything is getting back to normal, the Bureau of Quarantine of the Department of Health (DOH) has directed all quarantine stations and other concerned agencies for a heightened alert regarding the Covid-19 FLiRT variant.

This came after Health Secretary Ted Herbosa has directed the BOQ to conduct thorough screening at points of entry for arriving visitors coming from countries where the new Covid-19 “FLiRT” variants have been detected.

“We are facing a new COVID-19 strain that has the KP l and KP.2 variations which are part of a newly discovered subvariants identified as "FLiRT," a novel virus that is spreading globally,” said Director Ferdinand S. Salcedo through Bureau Memorandum No.2024-48 that was retrieved by The Freeman yesterday.

Salcedo said these came from the JN.1 sub-variant, which first became known in late 2023. This was also identified as the responsible for this year's earlier infection increase.

“In light of this. all stations have been directed to conduct thorough screening at Poirts of Entry for arriving visitors originating from countries where COVID FLiRT incidents have been detected,” Salcedo said.

The memo, however, did not specify the countries where this had been detected. All stations are also advised that all travelers must be reminded to complete the health questionnaire available on the e-travel application.

Aside from that, BOQ also is advising the general public to take basic health measures such as frequent hand washing, coughing etiquette and avoiding crowded situations as well as getting in contact with people with flu-like symptoms.

For those who develop signs and symptoms of Covid-19, home Isolation is advised.

For any concern, one can contact DOH at (02) 8651-7800 or 894-COVID as indicated in the memo.  — (FREEMAN)

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