PH detects 8 more cases of UK COVID-19 variant; 1 case found in Cebu

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2021 08:38 PM | Updated as of Feb 05 2021 09:35 PM

PH detects 8 more cases of UK COVID-19 variant; 1 case found in Cebu 1
Commuters line up to board the bus while observing health safety protocol, at the Roosevelt bus station in Quezon City on February 1, 2021. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

 

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippines has detected 8 more cases of the supposedly more transmissible COVID-19 variant, the Department of Health (DOH) announced on Friday, bringing the number of patients infected with the strain to 25. 

In a statement, the DOH said of the 8 new cases with the B.1.1.7 variant, 3 were from Bontoc town in Mountain Province, 2 were detected in La Trinidad town, Benguet, while 2 others were returning overseas Filipinos. 

The 8th additional case is a 35-year-old male from Liloan town, Cebu, according to the DOH. 

DETAILS, BREAKDOWN OF THE NEW INFECTIONS 

The two additional people infected with the new variant in Bontoc were females aged 25 and 54, and were identified as close contacts of a patient who had the strain. 

The 3rd newest case from the town, the health department said, was of a 32-year-old male "whose link to the Bontoc cluster is still being verified."

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The DOH said the 54-year-old female has recovered. The two other new infections of the variant from the town remain active infections. 

Meanwhile, the two cases in Benguet with the strain were of a 15-year-old female and an 84-year-old male.

The woman is asymptomatic and in isolation, and is a relative of an individual who was infected with the UK variant. The man, meanwhile, died on January 24 and had "no known history of travel nor contact with any B.1.1.7 variant case and is part of a separate cluster of cases in the city." 

The sixth person who has the new variant is a 29-year-old woman who arrived in the country from the United Arab Emirates on January 7. She boarded the Philippine Airlines flight PR 659.

A 54-year-old male Filipino balikbayan was also infected with the strain. He has a local address in Talisay, Cebu, the health agency said. 

Both returnees from abroad have already recovered. 

The first case of the UK COVID-19 variant in Cebu has a mild case and still remains as an active infection. His exposure and travel history is still being verified.

The OCTA Research Group last week warned that the COVID-19 variant has already spread in parts of Cebu, noting the recent 
increase of the infection rate there. 

The DOH, Philippine Genome Center, and the UP National Institutes of Health pointed out that no other variant of concern has been detected.

Contact tracing and case investigations are also underway. 

"Biosurveillance activities shall likewise be sustained and the succeeding whole genome sequencing activities are expected to determine the extent of transmission in areas where B.1.1.7 variant cases have been detected and to provide better representation from all regions," said the DOH. 

A Quezon City resident was the first person in the Philippines who tested positive for the UK coronavirus variant, which was detected mid-January. 

Two weeks ago, the health department recorded 16 more cases of the UK COVID-19 variant, 12 of which were detected from Bontoc. 

The DOH had said the patients from Benguet and Laguna "have no known contact to any confirmed case or travel history from outside the country."

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