PH confirms 19 more cases of UK Covid-19 variant; total now 44
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Friday additional 19 cases of the more transmissible UK variant of the new coronavirus, which brings the total number of confirmed cases of the variant in the country to 44.
According to DOH, the additional cases were part of the sixth batch of 718 samples sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center on February 8.
The health agency said the sixth batch of samples were sourced from all regions in the country except the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and were properly selected to ensure representation of each region and areas where spike in cases of Covid-19 have been reported.
The DOH also said there was no other variant of concern detected among samples that were subjected to genome sequencing. Sixty samples from Central Visayas that fit the cycle threshold (CT) value criteria for sequencing were also negative for the variant called B.1.1.7., which was first detected in the United Kingdom.
Breakdown of new cases
According to DOH, the indicated addresses of three of the 19 cases—a 10-year-old boy, a 54-year-old woman, and a 33 year-old man—is in Davao Region. It noted that the three cases, all active with mild symptoms, currently do not have any known link to each other.
Two cases, meanwhile, have indicated addresses in Calabarzon. One of them is a 20-year-old woman who went through a swab test on December 22 and has unknown exposure to Covid-19. The DOH said she has already recovered from the illness. The other case is a 76-year-old woman with exposure to a positive case last January 21 and is currently experiencing mild symptoms.
Eight of the 19 cases are returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) aged between 28 to 53 years old, said the DOH. Four of them are men and four are women.
Of the eight ROFs, six are being “managed” in ROF isolation facilities, while the two others are tagged as recoveries.
The DOH said it is verifying if the remaining six of the additional cases are local cases or ROFs.
“Case investigation and contact tracing have been initiated to verify reported information and trace possible sources of infection. The DOH shall release additional information once available,” the health department said.
It added that case investigation and contact tracing will also immediately be conducted through the Centers for Health Development and regional epidemiology and surveillance units, in coordination with concerned offices of local government units.
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