MANILA — The Department of Health on Thursday said it will be recommending the inclusion of the United Arab Emirates in the Philippines’ travel ban list.
This after a Filipino traveler from Dubai tested positive for the new SARS-CoV-2 variant.
But even if the country is not yet included in the travel ban list, DOH officials said they are taking a “pro-active stance” and will be subjecting travelers from the country to genome sequencing. They said the same protocols for countries that officially confirmed the UK variant will be applied to UAE.
During the same DOH briefing, experts commended the government for being able to detect the case even though under current protocol UAE travelers are only required to be tested for COVID and not to undergo gene sequencing.
The DOH and the Philippine Genome Center confirmed Wednesday the detection of the B.1.1.7. SARS-CoV-2 variant (UK variant) in the country after samples from a Filipino who arrived from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on January 7 yielded positive genome sequencing results.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the 29-year-old male patient is a resident of Kamuning, Quezon City who left for Dubai for business purposes last Dec. 27 and returned to the Philippines on Jan. 7 via Emirates Flight No. EK 332.
He was immediately swabbed and quarantined in a hotel upon arrival in the country.
The male patient's female partner and those who assisted his transfer from a barangay isolation facility to a city government quarantine facility have been isolated.
More details to follow.