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LEGAZPI CITY — Two of the 11 crew members of the MV Clyde and Barge Claudia, currently anchored off the waters of Sto. Domingo town in Albay province, tested positive for the COVID-19 Delta variant, the Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol said on Thursday.
Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH Bicol director, told the Bicol Pandemic Task Force the result of the test done on 11 of the vessel’s 19 crew members who initially tested positive for the viral disease in Butuan in Caraga region early this month.
Vera said five of the samples were sent to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) in Manila for genome sequencing.
The two cases of the Delta variant are both male and deck cadets – one is from Albay while the other is from the Calabarzon region, the report said.
The 258 gross ton tugboat and barge were carrying 8,200 metric tons of coal. It arrived with its crew in Albay from Butuan City on July 20.
But before coming back to Butuan and Bicol, the vessel went to Indonesia, one of the countries where the Delta variant was detected.
Upon arrival of the vessel, authorities here ordered the vessel and its crew to stay at sea four nautical miles from the shorelines of Sto. Domingo for a 14-day quarantine.
Since the crew are on “anchorage quarantine” on board the tugboat, the Bureau of Quarantine V monitors the health condition of the crew. As of Wednesday, all crew members are asymptomatic.
The Delta variant or the B.1.617.2 was first detected in India in October 2020. It is the most contagious version of the novel coronavirus worldwide.
As this developed, the DOH on Wednesday warned that local transmission of the Alpha and Beta variants of COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Bicol.
Based on the results of genome sequencing by the PGC, a total of 11 individuals were positive of the Alpha variant while 22 were positive of the Beta variant.
The Alpha variant, also known as the B.1.1.7 variant, was first detected in the United Kingdom in September 2020 while the Beta variant or the B.1.351 was first detected in South Africa in May 2020. Both variants are more transmissible and pose more risk of hospitalization.
All provinces of the Bicol region, except for Catanduanes, has reported cases of COVID-19 variants.
For the Alpha variant, Camarines Sur has recorded eight cases, while Naga City, Masbate and Sorsogon have one each.
For the Beta variant, Camarines Sur has eight cases, Albay has five, Naga City has four, Legazpi City has three cases, while Camarines Norte and Sorsogon have one each.
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