MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - A Hong Kong resident who returned to her country with the new COVID-19 variant after traveling to the Philippines may have contracted it there upon arrival, the OCTA Research Group said Wednesday.
The 30-year-old female patient arrived in Hong Kong from the Philippines on Dec. 22, according to a report. The Philippine Department of Health said it has yet to detect the presence of the new coronavirus variant.
"Possible naman na 'yung transmission nakuha niya locally, sa airport, so di pa naman natin masasabi talaga na meron dito pero s'yempre may malaking possibility," Dr. Guido Davidtold ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(It's possible that the patient got the transmission locally, at the airport, so we can't say that the new variant is here but of course there's a big possibility.)
"Baka nga local ang transmission na 'yun, baka nakuha niya sa airport sa Hong Kong so we’ll know further details na lang."
(Maybe it was a local transmission, maybe she got it at the Hong Kong airport, we’ll know further details.)
There is a "99 percent probability" that 1 in 5 travelers who arrived before the Philippines imposed travel restrictions had the new coronavirus variant, David said.
"Baka ito ang isang reason bakit tayo nagkasurge nung early December," he said.
(It may be the reason why we had a surge in early December.)
The country's genome laboratories are currently working on samples that may have the new COVID-19 variant and may get the result this week, David said.
"Ginagawa na nila ito currently. Inaasahan natin this week malalaman na natin kung may bagong variant," he said.
(They're currently doing this. We expect to know if we have the new variant this week.)
David urged the government to implement tighter observation of physical distancing, wearing of face masks and limitation of mass gatherings to prevent the spread of the more contagious coronavirus variant.