MANILA

DOH says asymptomatic persons too few to make dent

THE Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, May 22, sought to allay fears over the spread of the novel coronavirus from asymptomatic people, saying there are too few of them to make a dent in the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) epidemic in the country.

"Even the WHO has stated that asymtomatic transmission has not made a dent in our ongoing pandemic response," said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, in a Laging Handa virtual briefing.

"This means that, if there is such, this is just a small percentage of the whole Covid-19 pandemic picture," she furthered.

Vergeire issued the statement after some senators asked what the DOH is doing to individuals found positive for the novel coronavirus, or Sars-CoV-2, but do not have the symptoms, and the transmission risk they pose.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III replied by saying there is still no conclusive evidence that asymptomatic people can infect others.

This was questioned by some senators, who claimed that there are laboratory-positive cases but do not have symptoms.

Vergeire, during the virtual briefing, said those without symptoms may actually be considered as "pre-symptomatic individuals".

"These are the people who already have the virus and are likely to start manifesting symptoms days after they are found positive," said the health official.

Vergeire said majority of the cases were still transmitted by individuals who have developed the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Research in other countries, however, warned that what makes the novel coronavirus highly infectious is that a person who contracted the virus can infect others even before he learns that he has the virus or before symptoms develop. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)


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