7 copassengers of UK variant patient can’t be traced
Seven copassengers of the 29-year-old Filipino who tested positive for the more contagious variant of COVID-19 could not be located.
Contact-tracing teams have identified 214 close contacts in all.
They have tracked down and quarantined 152 out of the 159 passengers of the Emirates Flight EK 332 from Dubai that was taken by the 29-year-old Filipino who arrived in Manila on Jan. 7.
The man left the country on Dec. 27, 2020, for a business trip to the United Arab Emirates.
On Jan. 14, based on genome sequencing, he was confirmed to be positive for B117 SARS-CoV-2 variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom.
Authorities have isolated the 49 health workers who transported the patient from the hotel to an isolation facility, and six household members who came in contact with the patient.
“In a matter of days, we were able to contact all of them except for seven persons whose addresses and even contact numbers cannot be found. So we were able to [locate] 152 [passengers] and they were all swabbed in a matter of days,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told an online press briefing on Monday.
The Department of Health said it was still waiting for the result of the swab tests on the contacts.
The Philippines has more than 250,000 contact tracers, which are more than adequate to trace contacts of COVID-19 patients, according to Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Meanwhile, Mayor Joy Belmonte on Monday said Arayat City’s “baseless” new travel restrictions against Quezon City residents was “tantamount to discrimination,” in a scathing indictment of the Pampanga city’s latest measure against the coronavirus disease.
“We appeal to the Arayat [local government] to reconsider its earlier order and allow QC residents to enter its jurisdiction,” Belmonte said,
On Monday, Arayat Mayor Emmanuel Alejandrino said the measure was meant to protect his city from the new variant of the coronavirus originally found in the United Kingdom. INQ
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