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DOH: 8 more with UK variant

THE Department of Health (DOH) yesterday bared that eight more cases of the new COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant) had been detected.

The DOH said based on the bio-surveillance the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) and the UP-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), this brings the total B.1.1.7 variant cases in the country to 25, adding that no other variant of concern has been detected.

The report said three of the eight additional cases are from Bontoc, Mountain Province. Of the 3 cases, two females aged 25 and 54 were identified as close contacts of a previously reported B.1.1.7 variant case who is part of the Bontoc cluster. The third case 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.

Meanwhile, two additional cases are from La Trinidad, Benguet. One of the 2 cases is a 15-year-old female and 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 other 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 said case was recorded to have died last Jan. 24.

Moreover, two of the additional B.1.1.7 variant cases are returning overseas Filipinos. The first ROF is a 29-year-old female who arrived from UAE on Jan. 7 aboard Philippine Airlines flight PR 659. Meanwhile, the 2nd ROF is a 54-year-old male with a reported local address in Talisay, Cebu. Both ROF cases have already recovered.

The eighth additional case is a 35-year-old male from Liloan, Cebu whose sample was collected last Jan. 17. He is tagged as an active case with mild disease and is currently being managed. The exposure and travel history of this case is also being verified.