1 UK variant case linked to MRT COVID cluster


    ONE of the latest United Kingdom (UK) variant cases in the country has been linked to the recent clustering of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).

    In a virtual press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said contact tracers have found out that one of the 19 new variant patients disclosed by the Department of Health (DOH) last Friday is a 46 years-old female who lives in Pasay City and has a daughter who is working at the MRT.

    The patient is believed to be the first UK variant case from Metro Manila.

    Vergeire said the patient was found positive on January 25 and is now undergoing home quarantine.

    On Friday, the DOH reported 19 new UK variant cases in the country, including eight returning overseas Filipinos, three from Davao Region, and two from CALABARZON, while the other six cases are still for verification.

    Aside from the 19 confirmed cases, another five new cases are still being verified.

    Vergeire said one of the unverified five cases is a 20-year old female from Mt. Province but was tested positive for COVID-19 in the National Capital Region. She is back in her home province and is undergoing isolation.

    Another is a 37-year old male from Bukidnon but has been spending time in Metro Manila, where he was also found positive for COVID-19 last January 25.

    The DOH said there is also a 25-year old female case who lives in Dasmariñas, Cavite. She tested positive last January 31 and is now isolated.

    Another case is a 47-year old female residing in Las Piñas City, who arrived in January 12 from Morocco.

    The last case is a 49-year old male from Rizal. Contact tracers are still confirming his travel history.

    Vergeire said intense contact tracing efforts for the close contacts of the 19 new UK variant cases have so far yielded 169 individuals from three areas.

    “In the Davao Region, we were able to trace 107 individuals. In the Mt Province, contact assessed are 12 individuals. And from Ilocos Norte, we have 50 contacts traced already,” said Vergeire.

    She said the said individuals have been submitted for swabbing with results expected to come out within the week.

    Asked if having 44 UK variant cases are enough to declare a community transmission, the official answered in the negative.

    “From the samples that we get, we are still not at that level where we can say we have a community transmission,” said Vergeire.