Cebuano recovers from UK COVID-19 variant

Published February 6, 2021, 8:46 PM

by Philippine News Agency

The first Cebuano returning overseas Filipino (ROF) tested positive for the B.1.1.7 or UK variant has recovered and been discharged, the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas on Saturday said.

(photo from PNA)

The DOH-7 assured the residents that the region remains safe from the UK variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as the 54-year-old male from Talisay City was isolated since his arrival in the province. 

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH-7 chief pathologist, said the patient was the second case in Cebu monitored by the agency whose virus specimen was sent to the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) on Jan. 20 for genomic sequencing because he tested positive for Covid-19 and had travel history from restricted countries.

The patient arrived in the country from Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Jan. 18. 

“But I’d like to caution everyone in assuming that the rising cases now are due to this ROF who tested positive for the UK variant. It is most unfair to pinpoint it to him. He was placed in isolation and discharged only when recovered,” Loreche said in a message in response to media queries.

Loreche, also the regional spokesperson for Covid-19, said the DOH-7 has been conducting bio-surveillance since last week “to determine the presence of the UK variant or the possibility of a local variant in the region”.

On Friday, the DOH released the result from PGC, reporting eight new UK variant cases, including that of the 54-year-old ROF from Talisay City.

The PGC has not released results for the first and third suspected cases in Cebu whose genome samples were sent to PGC on different dates for genomic sequencing.

The DOH said sequencing is done to determine the variant of the virus, the period it was imported into the country, and possible interventions and tracing efforts to abate further contagion.

The first case whose virus specimen was sent to the PGC on Jan. 7 was a 35-year-old male who had a travel history from the United States.

The third case was a 28-year-old female overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from Naga City in the southern part of Cebu who arrived from Dubai on Jan. 21.

The patient was placed under monitoring after being tested positive for Covid-19. Her husband and baby are placed under close monitoring.

She said the one tagged by DOH central office on Friday as the eighth case of B.1.1.7 in the Philippines who is allegedly a resident of Liloan, in northern Cebu, “is still being investigated and searched”.

“This case is interesting as the swabbing was conducted in Sta. Ana, Manila on Jan. 17, 2021 and we have no details as to (the patient’s) whereabouts now,” Loreche said.