COVID-19 VARIANT FROM UK NOW DETECTED IN THE PHILIPPINES, DOH CONFIRMS
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The new variant of the coronavirus that was first detected in the United Kingdom, which is said to spread easily is now detected in the Philippines.
The Department of Health reported on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, that the B.1.1.7. SARS-CoV-2 variant or the UK variant has been detected in the country after a Filipino returnee from UAE or the United Arab Emirates last January 7 tested positive genome sequencing results.
According to the DOH, the male patient is a resident of Quezon City who left for Dubai for business purposes last Dec.27 and returned to the country on January 7 with the Emirates Flight No. EK 332. The patient was then swabbed and quarantined in a hotel upon arrival in the Philippines.
The DOH also added, “The positive test result was released the following day and the patient was referred to a quarantine facility in Quezon City while his samples were sent to PGC for whole-genome sequencing,”
It was also said in a press release from the Quezon City government that the male patient and his partner both tested negative for COVID-19 when they left the Philippines. According to the DOH, the patient’s partner tested negative but she is undergoing strict quarantine and monitoring.
With contact tracing, the DOH stated that they have already identified the close contacts and are currently under strict home quarantine, and are asymptomatic. It was also stated that the couple did not have any exposure prior to their trip.
The Quezon City City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) also said that they have already traced the frontliners who brought the patient to the isolation facility.
In a press release, Mayor Joy Belmonte said, "We have to remain cautious and vigilant to avert the spread of this new variant. What is important is we take care of the resident, and make sure we don't sow panic in the community.”
They have also ensured contact tracing of the patient’s fellow passengers of Emirates Flight No. EK 332.
The Department of Health keeps on reminding the public to always observe and follow the minimum health standards such as wearing of face masks, face shields, and observing physical or social distancing.