MANILA, Jan 23 (Mabuhay) — Philippine authorities  has detected the UK variant of the COVID-19 virus in 16 more cases in the country.

There are now 17 seventeen cases of COVID-19 who have the UK variant in the Philippines after the first who arrived from the United Arab Emirates earlier in January.

Of the additional 16 cases, three have recovered while 13 are still active. Of the 13 active cases, three are asymptomatic while the remaining 10 have mild symptoms.

The B.1.1.7 variant of the novelcoronavirus, first detected in the United Kingdom, has been found to be more infectious but does not make the disease more severe.

Twelve of the 16 additional cases are from Bontoc in the Mountain Province, two are OFWs returning from Lebanon, two are from La Trinidad in Benguet and Calamba in Laguna.

The DOH said that out of the 12 cases in Bontoc, 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,” the DOH said in a statement.

The two returning overseas Filipinos arrived on December 29 from Lebanon, a country included in the travel restrictions due to the detection of the UK  variant in said country. They arrived on 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 January 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 January 13.

The last two UK variant cases are local cases detected in La Trinidad and Calamba City 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 January 16,” the DOH said.

The DOH called on local government units to ensure strict monitoring and compliance to quarantine protocols in their respective localities.

“The DOH also reiterates that non-adherence and incorrect adherence to minimum public health standards are the drivers of transmission and mutation and therefore strongly urges the public to strictly and properly follow the MPHS in all settings,” it added.

Bontoc gov’t assures residents

Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey urged residents to follow basic health protocols and assured the public that the local government is doing its best to curb the spread of the illness.

“We will update you as soon as possible as to intensified measures that the MIATF would be undertaking,” Odsey said.

A matched study by Public Health England has found UK variant more infectious.

The first Filipino who has tested positive for the UK variant has already yielded negative results based on his latest swab test.

The Philippines has reported a total of 509,887 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 467,720 recoveries and 10,136 fatalities.  (MNS)

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