TWO persons, with addresses in Talisay City and Liloan town, have been found positive for the highly infectious variant of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
They are among the eight new cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in the country, bringing the total number to 25, the Department of Health said Friday, Feb. 5, 2021.
One of the two cases from Cebu is a 54-year-old male returning overseas Filipino (ROF) with address in Talisay City. He has recovered.
Talisay City Mayor SamSam Gullas in a statement said: "First of all, please don't panic. If you have already read the news online, please read our statement first before making any reaction."
Gullas said Department of Health officials clarified that the patient has not set foot in the city since he arrived in the country last month.
He only set foot when he was deemed recovered by doctors from a hospital in Cebu City.
According to DOH, the 54-year-old patient arrived in Cebu from one of the countries that were monitored for the UK variant.
Upon arriving at the airport, he was immediately brought to a nearby hotel for isolation and quarantine while waiting for swab test results.
Gullas said when results showed that he was positive for the variant he was immediately admitted to a public hospital as he had diabetes as well.
He was able to recover from the virus last February 2 and is now at home.
"I urge our constituents not to panic. Everyone is doing their best to ensure that we all remain safe. Our local health officials are also vigilant in ensuring that the new UK variant does not affect us. Let us continue to pray that this pandemic will eventually pass, Gullas added.
On the other hand, the case from Liloan town, a 35-year-old male, is considered an active case with mild symptoms. His sample was collected on Jan. 17.
He is “currently being managed,” but the DOH did not indicate where.
His exposure and travel history were being verified as of Friday evening, the DOH said.
The DOH said genome sequencing conducted by the University of the Philippines - Philippine Genome Center (PGC) detected the new variant from the United Kingdom in the eight samples.
No other variant has been detected.
Three of the eight new cases are from Bontoc, Mountain Province in the Cordillera Administrative Region, where a cluster of UK variant cases has been detected.
Of the three cases, two females aged 25 and 54, were identified as close contacts of a previously reported B.1.1.7 variant case in Bontoc.
The third case is a 31-year-old male whose link to the Bontoc cluster was still being verified.
The 54-year-old female has recovered while the two other cases were considered active cases.
Two other new cases are from La Trinidad, Benguet, also in the Cordillera.
One is a 15-year-old female and a relative of the previously identified UK variant case in La Trinidad.
The other case is an 84-year-old male, who had no known history of travel nor contact with any UK variant case. He died on Jan. 24, 2021.
Two other new cases are ROF, including the 54-year-old male from Talisay City.
The other ROF is a 29-year-old female who arrived from the United Arab Emirates on Jan. 7, 2021 via Philippine Airlines flight PR 659.
The eighth case is the 35-year-old man from Liloan.
The first B.1.1.7 case announced in the country involved a 29-year-old man from Quezon City, who had traveled together with his girlfriend, to Dubai in the UAE.
The girlfriend, his mother and a health worker who attended to him were among the 16 additional cases confirmed by the DOH on Jan. 22.
The 16 cases included the Bontoc cluster and one whose sample was taken on Dec. 10, 2020, four days earlier than the Dec. 14 announcement of the new variant in the UK.
A week later, on Jan. 29, the DOH assured that no cases with the new virus variant were detected anywhere in Cebu, in reaction to concerns raised by independent research group Octa Research that the UK variant may already be circulating in Cebu. / With HDT / SunStar Philippines