The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it has detected eight more cases of UK variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) bringing the total number of cases in the country to 25.
The new Covid-19 variant is also known as B.1.1.7.
“Following the sustained biosurveillance efforts of the government, the DOH, the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) and the UP-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) confirm the detection of eight additional Covid-19 cases positive for the B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant),” DOH said in a statement.
The DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-NIH further reported that no other variant of concern has been detected.
Three of the new cases are from Bontoc, Mountain Province, two of whom are females aged 25 and 54. Both were identified as close contacts of a previously reported B.1.1.7 variant case who are part of the Bontoc cluster.
The third one, on the other hand, is a 31-year-old male whose link to the Bontoc cluster is still being verified.
“To date, the 54-year-old female has already recovered, while the remaining two are active cases and are currently being managed,” the DOH said.
The fourth and fifth cases are from La Trinidad, Benguet, one of whom is a 15-year old female and a relative of the previously identified B.1.1.7 variant case in La Trinidad.
“She is currently asymptomatic and in isolation as part of the management of contacts of the first B.1.1.7 variant case identified in La Trinidad,” the DOH said.
The fifth case is an 84-year-old male who had no known history of travel nor contact with any B.1.1.7 variant case and is part of a separate cluster of cases in the city. The patient was recorded to have died last Jan. 24, 2021.
Moreover, two of the detected cases were returning overseas Filipino (ROF), both of whom have already recovered. The first one is a 29-year old female who arrived from the United Arab Emirates on Jan. 7, 2021 aboard Philippine Airlines flight PR 659.
The other one is a 54-year old male with a reported local address in Talisay, Cebu.
The eighth additional case is a 35-year old male from Liloan, Cebu whose sample was collected last Jan. 17.
According to DOH, he is tagged as an active case with mild symptoms and is currently being managed. The exposure and travel history of this case are also being verified.
The DOH, in coordination with concerned local government units, vowed to intensify contact tracing and conduct immediate case investigation to identify the sources of infection for the cases with no known link to previously reported UK variant patients.
“Biosurveillance activities shall likewise be sustained and the succeeding whole genome sequencing activities are expected to determine the extent of transmission in areas where B.1.1.7 variant cases have been detected and to provide better representation from all regions,” it said.