DOH: Virus variant carrier in Hong Kong a Filipina
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Thursday that the airline passenger from Manila who was found positive for the new coronavirus variant in Hong Kong was a Filipino migrant worker.
The 30-year-old female passenger is a domestic worker, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters.
In a statement released late on Wednesday, the DOH, citing a report from Hong Kong’s International Health Regulations National Focal Points and the Philippines’ Centers for Health Development, described the movements of the woman.
Second test positive
The DOH said the woman arrived in Hong Kong on Dec. 22, 2020, on a Philippine Airlines flight. She carried a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test dated Dec. 19, 2020. She was tested for the new coronavirus on Jan. 2, the DOH said. The result was positive.
“[T]he swabs tested positive and detected to also be positive for the UK variant [of the virus],” the DOH said.
The woman “remains in isolation and in stable condition,” it said.
Before leaving for Hong Kong, the woman was in her hometown in Cagayan Valley, the DOH said. She left Cagayan on Dec. 17, 2020, and arrived in Metro Manila the next day then went into quarantine as a work requirement.
The DOH said contact tracing was under way. “The flight manifest has been obtained and the tracing of passengers is being conducted while we await updates on the contact tracing efforts done in Hong Kong. There is also ongoing contact tracing by concerned epidemiology and surveillance units in Cagayan Valley and [Metro Manila],” the DOH said.
The department did not say when the woman returned from Hong Kong, where a health expert said on Wednesday she could have caught the variant.
Still no variant here
Despite the woman’s case, the DOH and the Philippine Genome Center said the variant had not yet been detected in the Philippines.
On Thursday, the DOH reported 1,353 additional coronavirus infections, pushing the overall number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country to 482,083.The DOH said 360 more patients had recovered, raising the total number of COVID-19 survivors to 449,052. The death toll, however, rose to 9,356 with the deaths of nine more patients.
The deaths and recoveries left the country with 23,675 active cases, of which 82.3 percent were mild, 8.4 percent asymptomatic, 0.4 percent moderate, 3.1 percent severe and 5.8 percent critical. —PATRICIA DENISE M. CHIU
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