Bontoc Covid-19 cases still rising
BAGUIO CITY—The number of persons who contracted the coronavirus disease in Bontoc town in Mountain Province continued to rise with 34 new cases recorded after mass testing was held there following the detection of a dozen UK variant cases in five of its villages, officials said on Saturday.
Most of the cases were traced to Samoki, the village that was placed on lockdown along with four others where most of the UK variant infections were recorded.
It was not immediately known if the new Covid-19 patients had the UK variant.
The swab samples of the 34 new patients will be sent to the Philippine Genome Center in Manila for genome sequencing, the procedure that compares a sample from a known positive patient with others to verify if it is positive for the new variant.
Records from the provincial government showed that 2,877 residents had undergone the free reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test from Jan. 26 to Jan. 29 given by the National Task Force Against Covid-19.
As of Jan. 29, Mountain Province had recorded a total of 736 cases since the pandemic broke out last year. About 400 of these remained active, according to the provincial health office.
On Sunday, Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey extended the lockdown in the villages of Samoki, Bontoc Ili, Caluttit, Poblacion and Tocucan from Feb. 1 to Feb. 7 to curb the rising infections in these areas.
In a memorandum, Odsey said restrictions under an enhanced community quarantine, the strictest quarantine level, would be imposed.
The 11 remaining Bontoc villages were placed on a less restrictive general community quarantine for the entire February.
On Jan. 22, the Department of Health (DOH) announced that 12 cases of the UK variant were detected in Bontoc, but it had yet to determine how the patients contracted it.
The DOH in Cordillera previously reported on Jan. 6 the isolation of a migrant worker based in the United Kingdom who returned to Bontoc for the Christmas holiday.
He had tested negative for the virus in Manila but was later confirmed to be infected when he complained of diarrhea and heart palpitations at a Bontoc hospital. He tested negative for the UK strain.
The whole Cordillera region has also been placed on general community quarantine for the whole of February.
MGCQ for Baggao
In Cagayan province, the town of Baggao was placed on a more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) indefinitely starting Jan. 31 despite recording new infections.
As of Sunday, the town still had 41 active Covid-19 cases after 496 residents were subjected to mass testing while it was on stricter modified enhanced community quarantine.
Mayor Joan Dunuan said the town’s new quarantine status was meant to help revive the local economy. —ALLAN MACATUNO AND VILLAMOR VISAYA JR. INQ
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