The Quezon City government is seeking the help of the Philippine National Police in tracing a passenger of an Emirates flight, which was the same flight taken by a Filipino who tested positive for the new strain of the coronavirus.
Dr. Rolly Cruz, head of QC Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, said authorities identified 8 passengers who were near the index case and his girlfriend on Emirates Flight No. EK 332.
Officials have already contacted 6 of the passengers, he said, while the other 2 gave wrong phone numbers. "Hindi namin matawagan," he said.
Authorities are set to visit the home address of the 7th passenger while the last one will be traced by the PNP.
"Hindi natin makita kung nasaan siya o matawagan siya," he said.
The official said the passengers had already tested negative for COVID-19 at the airport but will need to repeat the test. The passengers are currently quarantined at home or in designated hotels, he said.
The Department of Health 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.
Authorities have also taken swabs of the Filipino traveler's girlfriend as well as her parents, siblings and those who handled her at berth.
Cruz denied that Quezon City will impose localized lockdowns in some barangays, saying these are only imposed when there is clustering of COVID-19 cases or if there is difficulty of contact-tracing in a highly dense population.
"Wala tayong mangyayari na lockdown sa mga bahay ng mga naging pasahero ng ating naging index case," he said.