DOH reports 8 more cases of UK Covid-19 variant; total in PH now 25
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) reported on Friday additional eight cases of the more infectious variant of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of B.1.1.7. variant cases in the country to 25.
Three of the additional cases are from Bontoc, Mountain Province, according to DOH. Of the three, two women aged 25 and 54 were identified as close contacts of a previously reported case of the variant who is part of the cluster of infections in Bontoc.
The other confirmed case in the town is a 31-year-old man whose link to the Bontoc cluster is still being verified.
The DOH said the 54-year-old woman has already recovered from Covid-19, but the remaining two additional cases in Bontoc remain to be active cases as of now.
Meanwhile, another two of the additional cases are from La, Trinidad, Benguet where the new coronavirus variant was also previously detected. One of them is a 15-year-old female and relative of a previously identified variant case in La Trinidad.
The health agency said she is asymptomatic and is currently in isolation as part of management for close contacts of the first B.1.1.7 case in the locality.
The other case in La Trinidad is an 84-year-old man who had no known history of travel or contact with any case of the new variant and is part of a separate cluster of cases in the municipality. He was reported to have died last January 24, according to DOH.
Further, two of the additional cases are returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs). One of them is a 29-year-old woman who arrived from the United Arab Emirates on January 7 through Philippine Airlines flight PR 659. The second ROF, on the other hand, is a 54-year-old man with a reported local address in Talisay, Cebu. Both of the ROFs have already recovered, according to DOH.
Lastly, the eighth additional case is a 35-year-old man from Liloan, Cebu, whose sample was collected last January 17. The DOH said he is an active case with mild infection and that his exposure to the virus and travel history are still being verified.
Before this latest announcement from the DOH, there were only 17 locally confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The said variant was first detected in the United Kingdom.
In a January statement, the DOH noted that the variant “demonstrated higher transmissibility but no evidence that it increased infectivity, pathogenicity, or virulence.”
Through the Centers for Health Development and concerned local government units, the DOH assured that it would conduct an immediate case investigation and intensified contact tracing and back-tracking to identify the sources of infection for cases with no known link to previously reported cases of the variant.
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