No local transmission yet of UK COVID variant in Davao City

Published March 11, 2021, 3:03 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – There is no evidence yet of local transmission of the UK variant or B.1.1.7 here nearly a month after health authorities confirmed that a 10-year-old boy had tested positive for the more infectious variant of the COVID-19, City Health Office (CHO) acting head Dr. Ashley Lopez said.

Lopez said that the city has no active case of the UK variant or any other mutated variants.

He said that the boy, the city’s lone UK variant case so far, has already recovered from the infection after he tested positive for the infection last Jan. 18. Based on the result of the genome sequencing at the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) released last Feb. 13, the boy was tested positive for UK variant.

Lopez said that the boy’s known index case was his diabetic grandmother but authorities could not establish how the boy could have contracted the mutated variant since he had no travel history outside the city while his family had no known exposure to foreigners.

According to him, the family has already completed the additional 14-day home quarantine, as ordered by local health authorities shortly after sequencing results came out.

He said that a female overseas Filipino worker (OFW), who was returning home to Davao from Dubai, turned out positive for UK variant upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“When that particular case arrived in Manila, she was tested positive for COVID-19, and it was later found out that she had UK variant. She was not able to return to Davao because she was quarantined in Manila,” she said.

Lopez said the female OFW had completed the 14-day isolation in Metro Manila, and had been cleared of the infection.

The local health official said the city is not expecting a surge any time soon but added that they are not discounting the possibility of a variant-driven surge.

“We continue our checkpoints, including clinical assessments at the airport. We have doctors assigned there who do the clinical assessment of the arriving passengers,” he added.

Lopez also emphasized the need to observe the minimum health protocols.

He said the COVID-19 molecular laboratory at the airport also caters to arriving passengers who are willing to get swabbed for free.