Quezon City said it would hold contact tracing and testing in Riverside, Brgy. Commonwealth, after the Philippine Genome Center confirmed that a COVID-19 patient quarantined in the area tested positive for the UK variant of the virus.
The Department of Health said that the man hailed from Liloan, Cebu and is the eighth UK variant case. His sample was collected on Jan. 17 and was tagged an active with mild symptoms.
He was a former Overseas Filipino Worker from Korea, who flew back to the Philippines last August 2020 and stayed in Cebu.
"We want to make sure that nobody was infected with COVID-19, especially by the much more contagious B.1.1.7 variant," Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said.
On Nov. 17, 2020 the man moved to Sucat, Parañaque, where he made frequent trips to a manning agency in Malate, Manila.
His last visit to the manning agency was dated Jan. 14, after securing another overseas placement.
While awaiting deployment, he rode a taxi and stayed at a hotel in Manila on Jan. 17. That same day, he took a swab test in Pasay City.
The next day, he was informed that he was COVID-positive and that his sample was sent to the Philippine Genome Center for further testing for the new variant.
Until Jan. 21, he stayed at the same hotel, where his agency booked a vehicle via ride-hailing app afterwards for his transfer to an apartment in Riverside.
On Feb. 5, his genome sequencing results showed he was positive for the new variant. On Feb. 8, he developed a mild cough. On Feb. 10, he took another swab test, along with his companion.
Belmonte is now seeking legal advice as to whether the manning agency is liable for not following health protocols. "This agency placed an entire community at risk by bringing a COVID-19 positive patient to our city, considering that both their agency and the quarantine hotel are in Manila," she said.
To keep safe against the virus, the mayor reiterated the importance of observing minimum public health standards. "Our best defense is still strict adherence to health protocols so we can keep ourselves and our families safe," she said.