Some passengers onboard flight with new COVID-19 variant patient reject DOH call

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2021 08:40 AM | Updated as of Jan 14 2021 12:25 PM

A limited number of passengers pass through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City on December 22, 2020, 3 days before Christmas. The volume of passengers going to the provinces for the holidays drastically dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Passengers onboard the flight of the Filipino who tested positive for the new coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom are urged to contact authorities, the Department of Health said Thursday.

The 29-year-old male patient is under isolation at a Quezon City facility and some of his close contacts have been identified, according to DOH spokesperson, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

"Some passengers are rejecting our call. Sana po ay kausapin nila kami para…mabigyan namin sila ng guidelines on what they should do," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(We hope they will talk to us...so we can give them guidelines on what they should do.)

"Nakipag-coordinate din kami sa local governments so pupuntahan din po kasi we have their addresses."

(We have also coordinated with local governments, so we'll go to their homes as we have their addresses.)

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 DOH will be "intensifying efforts" to inform the public about the more contagious COVID-19 variant, Vergeire said.

"Kailangan talaga to strictly comply with minimum public health standards para hindi magkaroon ng transmission of this variant in the country," she said.

(Strict compliance with minimum public health standards is needed to prevent transmission of this variant in the country.)

The patient has mild symptoms and is "adequately being monitored and managed" by the QC health department, Vergeire said.

"At this time wala po kaming nakikitang dahilan para ilipat siya sa ibang quarantine or hospital, better na hindi na siya malipat-lipat, the better for us para ma-ensure nating wala nang transmission na mangyayari," said Dr. Rolly Cruz, head of QC Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit.

(At this time, we see no reason to transfer him to other quarantine or hospital facilities, it's better if he's not transferred to ensure there's no transmission.)

The male patient's female partner and those who assisted his transfer from a barangay isolation facility to a city government quarantine facility have also been isolated, Cruz said.

Watch more in iWantTFC