PH’s Bureau of Quarantine now tracing 182 travelers from South Africa
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) is trying to contact 182 more travelers from South Africa who arrived in the Philippines from November 15 to 29, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.
Based on DOH data, a total of 253 travelers from South Africa, composed of 249 returning Filipinos and four foreign nationals, arrived in the Philippines from the said period. A total of 71 of them have been located or contacted.
Of the 71 individuals, three have tested negative for COVID-19 and the test result of one traveler is still pending. The test results of 67 others are still being processed.
Seventy of them are undergoing facility-based quarantine while the other is under home quarantine.
The government has temporarily banned inbound flights from South Africa and 13 other countries from November 28 to December 15 following the threat of the Omicron variant.
The Omicron variant was first detected in Botswana, Hong Kong, and South Africa in November, according to DOH. South African scientists were the first to announce the discovery of the new variant, saying it has a “very unusual constellation” of mutations.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that with 50 mutations overall, including 30 that are in its spike protein, it is possible that the Omicron variant may cause increased virus transmissibility and “immune evasion.”
However, she noted that further studies are needed to better understand the variant’s effect on the virus’ transmissibility, infectivity, and effect on vaccines.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.