The Department of Health released late Wednesday more details about the new COVID-19 variant patient who traveled to Hong Kong from Manila as concerns over its spread grew in the Philippines.
Hong Kong authorities earlier reported that it detected the new UK variant--known as B117--of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in an individual who arrived in the Chinese special administrative region on Dec. 22 from Manila.
The individual is a 30-year-old female from Cagayan Valley region, the DOH said, citing information from the Hong Kong International Health Regulations Focal Point and local centers for health development.
DOH Usec. Rosario Vergeire confirmed Thursdy reports of at least two local news outlets in Hong Kong that the individual is a Filipino domestic helper.
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The individual, according to the DOH, left Cagayan on Dec. 17 and arrived in Metro Manila a day later, where she underwent quarantine "as per their workplace protocol."
On Dec. 19, the DOH said she tested negative for COVID-19 using RT-PCR testing.
She left for Hong Kong via Philippine Airlines Flight PR 300 on Dec. 22 and was quarantined upon arrival there. It was on Jan. 2 when she was tested again that the UK variant of the virus was detected, the DOH said.
"She remains in isolation and in stable condition," the DOH said.
Earlier Wednesday, Vergeire said Filipino authorities have obtained flight records and contact tracing has started for the 40 passengers on board the same flight as the case.
Contact tracing efforts have also begun in Cagayan Valley and Metro Manila according to the DOH.
The new virus variant, which was found to be more transmissible, has prompted the Philippines to issue a travel ban on nations that have reported cases of it.
While Hong Kong has reported a case of the new virus variant in a traveler from Manila, Philippine health authorities said they have not detected the UK or South African variant in the samples they analyzed.