In Cebu, OFW who got jab is positive for virus
CEBU CITY—A returning Filipino worker from the United Arab Emirates, who had already received shots of COVID-19 vaccine, tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival in Mandaue City, according to the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH regional spokesperson, said the male overseas Filipino worker (OFW) received two doses of the Chinese-made Sinopharm on Dec. 12, 2020, and on Jan. 2. He arrived in Cebu province on Jan. 5 and completed the quarantine on Jan. 20.
Looking at new variants
After three weeks, on Feb. 8, he was again swabbed, but the results released the next day showed him positive for COVID-19.
“Five out of seven household members were [also] positive for COVID-19. They are all currently isolated,” Loreche said.
She cited several possibilities as to why the OFW still got infected with COVID-19 even after getting the vaccine.
“There are no solid scientific studies yet as to the length of immunity that a vaccine can give,” she said. “It’s highly probable that the immunity that the vaccine has given as a protection has not kicked off yet.”
It was also possible that “it’s a different variant of COVID-19,” she added.
The DOH on Thursday announced the presence of two possible mutations, or COVID-19 variants, in Cebu.
Loreche said results returned by the Philippine Genomic Center showed two new mutations from the 60 samples sent to the facility.
These possible variants had yet to be named and were referred “variants under investigation or variant of concern, or variant of interest,” she said.
Heightened alert in Ilocos
Loreche said there was no reason to panic as the patients had been isolated and quarantined. “It is very possible that we have our own [variant] which did not come from other countries,” she said.
In Ilocos Norte, health officials on Wednesday placed the province on heightened alert after a close contact of a patient who tested positive for the more transmissible coronavirus variant from the United Kingdom had also been infected.
Local officials, however, have yet to determine if the latest COVID-19 patient has also contracted the UK variant.
Dr. Norman Rabago, a consultant for the provincial government’s COVID-19 response, said a health task force had already identified the 130 close contacts of the province’s first UK variant case, a 46-year-old male resident returning from Bahrain.
The patient, tagged as C-19-UK-1, is a native of Pasuquin town.
Rabago said the patient’s close contacts had been placed on strict quarantine at a government-run center or in their homes. Results of their reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction tests have yet to be released.
But a source from the provincial government on Wednesday said one of the close contacts, a 38-year-old man from Barangay Gabu Norte in Laoag City, also tested positive for COVID-19. The man had previously traveled to Pasay City in Metro Manila. —WITH A REPORT FROM JOHN MICHAEL MUGAS
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