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Philippines Confirms First Case of New COVID Variant

It's here.
by Arianne Merez
Jan 13, 2021
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

The new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19, which was first reported in the UK, has reached the Philippines, the Department of Health said on Wednesday.

The new SARS-CoV-2 variant, known as B.1.1.7. was detected in a Filipino who arrived from the UAE on Jan. 7, the DOH said.

The patient is a male resident of  Kamuning, Quezon City who departed for Dubai on Dec. 27, 2020 for business purposes and arrived in the Philippines last Jan. 7, 2021 via Emirates Flight No. EK 332. The patient was swabbed and quarantined in a hotel upon arrival, the DOH said.

A woman who accompanied the patient during his overseas trip meanwhile tested negative for COVID-19 but was placed under strict quarantine and monitoring, the DOH said.

Contact tracing efforts have started and the DOH said it was coordinating with the Quezon City local government on the matter.

Flight details of the trip taken by the patient were also obtained by the DOH. It advised individuals who were on board the same flight to contact their barangay health emergency response teams.

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Earlier, the Philippines banned the entry of travelers from several countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, that have reported cases of the new variant of SARS-CoV-2.


China, More Countries Included in Philippines Travel Ban

The variant spreading in the UK and parts of the globe, is more contagious but not exactly more lethal.

In his last public address in 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed concerns over the new virus variant and announced that a fresh lockdown is a "possibility" should there be a "severity" in cases.


Duterte Raises Alert on New COVID Variant, Says Lockdown a 'Possibility' if Cases Spike

As of January, parts of the Philippines remain under the two most relaxed levels of community quarantine--general community quarantine and modified general community quarantine.

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