First PH case of UK COVID variant tests negative in swab test

Published January 22, 2021, 1:09 PM

by Analou De Vera & Joseph Pedrajas

The Department of Health (DoH) said Friday that the man who had the country’s first case of the B.1.1.7. SARS-CoV-2 or the UK variant of COVID-19 has already tested negative for the virus in his latest swab test.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire

DoH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the health condition of the patient will still be monitored.

“Yes, the index case tested negative already. But a thorough assessment still has to be done such as chest X-ray because he was diagnosed with pneumonia at the start,” said Vergeire in a message to reporters.

The Quezon City government also issued the same announcement on its official Facebook page.

It said that the doctors at the quarantine facility where the patient is currently staying “will make a final assessment before he is allowed to reunite with his family and reintegrate with the community.”

“However, he will remain under health monitoring for at least two weeks,” it added.

The DoH had previously reported that there were 213 people who came in contact with the index case. These include his co-passengers in Emirates Flight EK 332, household members, and medical workers who attended to him.

Of the total, 15 people tested positive for COVID-19. Their swab samples have been sent to the Philippine Genome Center for gene sequencing to determine if they are infected with the UK COVID-19 virus variant.

The result of the genome sequencing is expected to be released Saturday, said Vergeire.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte called on the public not to discriminate residents, particularly those living in Barangay Kamuning where the man lives as it is against the law.

“Sa panahon ngayon, huwag na nating bigyang puwang ang diskriminasyon dahil wala itong naitutulong at nakakabigat pa sa sitwasyon (At this time, let’s not discriminate because it does not help us in our situation),” Belmonte said.

“Sa halip na pandirihan, ipakita natin ang ating pagmamahal sa kanya at iparamdam na tayo’y masaya na siya’y magaling na (Instead of being indifferent, let us show our love and let him feel that we’re happy because he’s already getting better),” she added.