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PHL reports 19 new coronavirus cases with UK variant

15 February 2021

By The SUN

There are now 44 patients in the Philippines with the coronavirus variant (File)

Philippine health officials have reported 19 more coronavirus patients were found to have the United Kingdom (or British) variant, including the mother of a staff of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)3.

The new cases brought the number of cases with the more infectious strain to 44, but Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual briefing today, Feb. 15, that there is not yet enough evidence to say that there is community transmission of the variant.

“The samples that we get are still not at that level na masasabi natin that it can already provide us with that predictive factor for community transmission,” she said.

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Vergeire identified the MRT-linked case as a 46-year-old female resident of Pasay City whose child works at the rail company.

She tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on January 25 and is currently under home quarantine.

Last month, the Department of Transportation said the MRT-3 Depot was placed under “enhanced access control” after 42 personnel tested positive for COVID-19

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The Department of Health today also verified the information about five previously identified cases with the UK variant, who are all now under isolation. They include:

1)      - A 20-year-old female from Mountain Province who tested positive for Covid-19 in Metro Manila on Jan 12 as part of pre-departure screening for overseas workers. She has since returned to her hometown.

2)      - A 37-year-old man living in Bukidnon who spent long periods of time in Metro Manila for training. He tested positive for Covid-19 on Jan 25.


3)     -  A 25-year-old female resident of Dasmariñas, Cavite who was found infected on Jan 31.

4)     -  A 47-year-old OFW living in Las Piñas who returned to the Philippines from Morocco on Jan. 12. She completed a 10-day isolation upon her arrival but was advised to continue her quarantine after her second swab test came back positive for the coronavirus.

5)     -  A 49-year-old man with an address in Rizal. The DOH is yet to confirm whether he is a local or a returning OFW.

Where the 44 cases with the variant are located (PTV 4)

Vergeire also said 107 close contacts of the 19 patients who are in Davao, 12 in Mountain Province, and 50 in Ilocos Norte have so far been traced.


Vergeire said some samples from distant places have yet to be delivered to the Philippine Genome Center for genome sequencing to detect the presence of the variant because of logistical problems.

The DOH is coordinating with the Office of Civil Defense to ensure that the samples could be included in the succeeding batches of genome sequencing.

During the briefing, Vergeire also said no restrictions for travelers from countries with the UK variant will be imposed soon.

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“It was agreed on and recommended also by experts that we cannot remain to be isolated nang matagal from the rest of the world. Marami po tayong sina-sacrifice ‘pag nagre-restrictions tayo na ganito,” she said.

But she assured the public that the government has put safeguards to keep the infection at bay.

“If we can maintain our cases to just this manageable level, itong pagkalat ng transmission na ito ay mapipigilan din natin,” Vergeire said.

As of the latest tally, The Philippines has a total of 549, 176 Covid-19 cases, with 511,743 recoveries and 11,515 deaths. Among the active cases, 86% have only mild symptoms.



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