Eight additional UK variant discovered in the Philippines
MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) said the sustained biosurveillance efforts of the government through the Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) and the UP-National Institute of Health (UP-NIH) confirmed the detection of eight additional COVID-19 positive cases for the B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant).
In a statement released 8:00 P.M., Friday, the DOH said the total number of the B.!.!.7 variant in the Philippines to 25. The DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-NIH further said there are no other variant of concern that has been detected.
Three (3) of the additional cases are from Bontoc, Mountain Province. Of the three cases, two (2) females aged 25 and 54 were identified as close contacts of a previously reported B.1.1.7 variant case who is part of the Bontoc cluster. The third case is a 31-year-old male whose link to the Bontoc cluster is still being confirmed. As of today, the 54-year-old female has already recovered while the remaining two are active cases and are being attended to.
Two (2) additional cases are from La Trinidad, Benguet. One of the two cases is a 15-year-old female and relative to the previously identified B.1.!.7 variant case in La Trinidad. She is currently asymptomatic and in isolation as part of the management of contacts of the first B.1.1.7 variant case identified in La Trinidad. The other case is an 84-year-old male who had no known travel history nor contact with any B.1.1.7 variant case and is part of a separate cluster of cases in the city. The said case was reported to have expired last January 24,2021.
Two (2) of the additional B.1.1.7 variant cases are Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROF). The first ROF is a 29-year-old female who arrived from the UAE last January 7,2021 aboard a Philippine Air Lines flight PR 659. The other is a 54-year-old male with a reported address in Talisay, Cebu. Both ROF cases have already recovered.
Meanwhile, the 8th additional case is a 35-year-old male from Liloan, Cebu whose sample was taken last January 17. He has been tagged as an active case with mild disease and is currently being managed.
The DOH said their Centers for Health Development with the concerned local government units will conduct immediate case investigation and identified contact tracing and back tracing to identify the sources of infection for the cases with no known link to previously reported B.1.1.7 variant cases.
“Biosurveillance activities shall likewise be sustained and the succeeding whole genome sequencing activities are expected to determine the extent of transmission in areas where B1.1.7 variant cases have been detected and to provide better representation from all regions,” the DOH statement concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)