Boy infected with UK COVID variant had no travel history outside Davao City

Published February 18, 2021, 5:22 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The 10-year-old boy who is the first confirmed case of the UK variant of COVID-19 here has not travelled outside the city while his family has no known exposure to foreigners, Davao City Health Office (CHO) head Dr. Ashley Lopez said.

Davao City Health Office (CHO) head Dr. Ashley Lopez said in an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that based on the case investigation, local health authorities could not establish how the child got infected with this more infectious mutated strain, known as the B117.

“Based on our history taken from the family, they have no history of travel. In fact, this child has not travelled ever to other places… They have no contacts with any UK variant suspect and have not interacted with foreigners. We cannot establish the history of his exposure to a probable UK variant case,” he said.

He said investigation is still ongoing to determine the child’s possible exposure.

Lopez said the child’s known index case was his diabetic grandmother, who stayed for 16 days in a private hospital and was transferred to a temporary treatment and monitoring facility (TTMF) at the University of the Philippines-Mindanao.

 The child, who tested positive for COVID-19 last Jan. 18, was asymptomatic and underwent 10-day isolation at the City North Inn. He was sent home in Panacan here where he was quarantined for four more days, according to Lopez.

Lopez said the child and his grandmother had fully recovered. He said the child’s parents tested negative for COVID-19.

The local health official did not discuss if the specimen from the grandmother was among the 1,900 samples sent for genome sequencing at the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC).

Citing experts from Department of Health’s (DOH) Epidemiological Bureau, Lopez said the child could not have contracted the virus’s mutated strain without exposure to a patient who was infected with the UK variant.

 He surmised that the virus could have mutated.

 “Probably, this patient had developed a mutation because we know that the virus mutates every two weeks or every month. We just don’t know but maybe it’s because of this,” he said.

Aside from the child, Davao de Oro also confirmed last Feb. 13 its first two UK variant cases – a 54-year-old male and a 33-year-old female.

Lopez said the local government put the family under 14-day home quarantine after results from UP-PGC came out.

He said the barbershop, owned by the child’s father, has been put on lockdown while the clients are currently being traced but added that there’s “very low risk for outside transmission” as the family in Panacan and his relatives in Toril, this city, are cooperating with the local health authorities.

 “For now, I don’t see any possibility of outside transmission because based on our risk assessment in Panacan and Toril, there is no increasing number of cases. The issue of this UK variant is that its capability of transmission is twice but when we reviewed… we have no more cases in Toril while Panacan went from cases to less than 20,” he said.