The more contagious coronavirus strain first detected in the United Kingdom has reached the Philippines, according to the Department of Health (DoH).
In a statement, the agency said the Philippine Genome Center detected the UK variant from samples of a Filipino who arrived from the United Arab Emirates on Jan. 7.
The male resident from Quezon City went to Dubai on Dec. 27 and came back last week via an Emirates Flight. His female partner who accompanied him on his trip had tested negative for the coronavirus but was under strict quarantine.
The two had no exposure to an infected person before leaving for the UAE, DoH said. Health authorities have traced people who had contact with them.
“The DOH has also secured the flight manifest of the flight in question and contact tracing of other passengers is now under way,” it said.
“Weekly genomic biosurveillance among incoming passengers, local cases, re-infected patients, and those with reported clustering of cases will be intensified,” it said.
DoH called on the public to observe health protocols to lower the transmission risk. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas