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The Philippines confirms the first case of the new COVID-19 variant first discovered in the UK

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Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) – 13 January 2021 – 8:13 pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated at 9:19 p.m.) Health authorities on Wednesday said the new variant of the coronavirus, believed to be more contagious, had arrived in the country from a Filipino who had returned from the Middle East.

The health department said samples from a Filipino male who came from the UAE gave a positive B.1.17 result. SARS-CoV-2

He left for Dubai on December 27 and arrived again in Manila on January 7, via Emirates flight no. EK 332.

The Duterte administration had imposed travel restrictions from countries with confirmed cases of the new variant, but as of January 13, the UAE was not included in its list of over 30 nations.

As of December 29, the UAE Gulf Times had reported that authorities there had confirmed “several cases” of the variant which was first discovered in the UK and has since spread to other countries.

DOH said it now has the details of the couple’s flight to find other passengers, but also told them on the flight in question to seek help from their local community response teams or BHERT.

Officials added that the patient, who is a Quezon City resident, was cleaned and quarantined at a hotel when he arrived.

The test results were discovered a day later and he was referred to a quarantine facility at QC, while his samples were sent to the Philippine Genome Center for whole genome sorting.

He had apparently traveled with his female partner which has proven negativity but remains under quarantine and monitoring.

They were told they had no exposure to a COVID-19 patient before leaving for Dubai and also had not traveled outside the QC.

“Immediate tracking of contacts was done in close coordination with the QC government and the contacts initially identified are asymptomatic and current under strict in-house quarantine,” DOH said.

The agency is committed to intensifying its weekly biomomic bioavailability on incoming passengers, infections at home, those who were re-infected, and those with reported case grouping.

He added that he has sought the help of the interior department for more trackers of contacts, including another for possible cases of the new variant.

Despite the discovery of B117, there is no expected change in protocols in the country fighting the pandemic, as stated by a senior health official earlier today.

Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire tried to explain that the mode of transmission remains through the points and there would only be a stricter monitoring of public compliance with health standards.

Vergeire was also recently assigned to lead a new technical working group formed by the coronavirus task force to monitor and identify new variants of COVID-19.

As of January 13, the entry of foreign travelers into the country is still restricted to those coming from the following areas:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong SAR
  • Puffin Island
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israeli
  • Ital
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Luxembourg
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • People’s Republic of China
  • Portugal
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to deliver his weekly speech Wednesday night, and the public will expect what he has to say on tonight’s developments.



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