The total number of confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of the COVID-19 virus (United Kingdom variant) in the country has increased to 17, the Department of Health (DoH) announced Friday night.
“Following strengthened biosurveillance activities amid the detection of the first B.1.1.7 variant in the country last Jan. 13, the Department of Health (DoH), UP-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the UP-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) today confirmed the detection of the B.1.1.7 variant in 16 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 17,” the DoH said in a statement.
“Of the additional 16 cases with B.1.1.7 variant detected, three have already recovered, 13 are active cases — three of which are asymptomatic and 10 are exhibiting mild symptoms,” it added.
The DoH said that 12 out of the 16 new cases were detected in Bontoc, Mountain Province.
“Of these 12 cases, seven are male and five are female. Three are aged below 18-years-old and another three are above 60. Contact tracing was immediately initiated to contain the spread of the infection. Investigation is also underway to identify these cases’ exposure and travel histories,” it said.
The two other patients are Filipinos who arrived in the Philippines from Lebanon last Dec. 29 onboard Philippine Airlines Flight PR 8661.
“The first case is a 64-year-old female whose indicated local address is Jaro, Iloilo City. The patient was isolated in San Juan, Metro Manila and discharged on Jan. 9. The other is a 47-year-old Filipina whose reported local address is Binangonan, Rizal and was quarantined in New Clark City and discharged from isolation on Jan. 13,” the DoH said.
The remaining two others were detected in La Trinidad, Benguet and Calamba City, Laguna.
“Both have no known contact to any confirmed case or travel history from outside the country. One is currently admitted in a Benguet Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility, while the 23-year-old male in Laguna has been discharged after receiving a negative result on Jan. 16,” the DoH said.
The country’s first case was a 29-year-old Filipino and Quezon City resident who left for Dubai, United Arab Emirates last Dec. 27 and returned to the country last Jan. 7.
The DoH said that he has tested negative for COVID-19.
The State health agency urged all local government units to ensure strict monitoring and compliance to quarantine protocols in their localities.
“The DoH also reiterates that non-adherence and incorrect adherence to minimum public health standards (MPHS) are the drivers of transmission and mutation and therefore strongly urges the public to strictly and properly follow the minimum public health standards in all settings,” it added.