12 cases detected in Bontoc town, Mountain Province
MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines on Friday confirmed 16 more cases of the new, more transmissible variant of COVID-19, raising the total to 17 on the same day it reported the highest daily tally of cases in over two months.
The new cases were confirmed as the first patient of the new variant, a man who flew back to Manila from a Dubai trip on January 7, was reported to have recovered.
Of the new reports, 12 were detected in Bontoc town, Mountain Province, the local government said Friday night.
In a post on the town's Facebook page, Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey said that 12 of 35 COVID-19 patients in Bontoc were found to be infected with the new coronavirus variant.
"The Bontoc LGU urges everyone to intensify adherence to basic health protocols. Lockdown is still in effect," Odsey said.
"Rest assured that the LGU is doing its best to help deter further spread."
Odsey did not disclose additional details.
The Department of Health later said in a statement of these 12 cases, 7 are male and 5 are female, with 3 minors and 3 senior citizens.
"Contact tracing was immediately initiated to contain the spread of the infection. Investigation is also underway to identify these cases’ exposure and travel histories," the DOH said.
The department added that four more cases of the new COVID variant were also detected from two OFWs returning from Lebanon, and two patients in La Trinidad, Benguet and Calamba City, Laguna.
The DOH said the patients from Benguet and Laguna "have no known contact to any confirmed case or travel history from outside the country."
According the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a new coronavirus variant called B.1.1.7 has emerged in the UK with an unusually large number of mutations.
"This variant spreads more easily and quickly than other variants. Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. This variant was first detected in September 2020 and is now highly prevalent in London and southeast England. It has since been detected in numerous countries around the world, including the United States and Canada," it added.
A Quezon City resident was the first person in the Philippines who tested positive for the UK coronavirus variant.