QC gov’t working with DOH after resident found with UK coronavirus variant
MANILA, Philippines—The Quezon City government said it is coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) after the more infectious variant of coronavirus that originated in the United Kingdom (UK) had been detected in one returning resident.
In a statement issued on Wednesday night (Jan. 13), the Quezon City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (Cesu) said it is now taking care of the infected resident, who had arrived from Dubai, in one of its isolation facilities.
The city has also ramped up its contact tracing to identify the patient’s close contacts, which included health workers who brought him to the facility.
“We are doing everything we can to trace and isolate, knowing fully well that this variant is more contagious but not more virulent,” said Cesu head Dr. Rolly Cruz.
The city government said it is also waiting for the list of passengers who were on the same flight as the infected resident to identify other people who may be from Quezon City.
The DOH said that the patient and a female companion left for Dubai on Dec. 27 on a business trip. He returned to the Philippines on Jan. 7 and was quarantined in a hotel upon arrival, while waiting for the results of tests.
The male patient was transferred to a Quezon City isolation facility after testing positive for the virus.
The female companion, meanwhile, tested negative.
Cesu said that the patient’s household members were brought to an isolation facility where they were also tested as a precautionary measure.
Additionally, Cesu said that it has heightened monitoring in the patient’s community to check for possible clusters of cases.
“We have to remain cautious and vigilant to avert the spread of this new variant,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.
“What is important is we take care of the resident, and make sure we don’t sow panic in the community,” she added.
As of Wednesday, the city government has logged 28,912 COVID-19 cases. At least 938 are active.
The virus’ reproduction rate from a single case (R0) is 1.13 as of Jan. 10, according to Octa Research and Cesu. Positivity rate is 5 percent.
The new coronavirus variant first detected in the UK is at least 70 percent more infectious but is believed to be not deadlier, according to experts.
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