OFW on same flight with UK variant index case awaits results of repeat swab in Cotabato City

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 27 January) – A female Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who was on the same flight from the United Arab Emirates with the Quezon City passenger who tested positive for the COVID-19 UK variant, is undergoing quarantine in a facility in this city, awaiting results of a repeat swab, Dr. Ameril Usman, OIC of the Bangsamoro Ministry of Health, said.

The Cotabato Regional and Medical Center in Cotabato City photographed in March 2020. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

Usman told MindaNews that according to their surveillance officer, the 29-year old female working in Shuhada, Kuwait, tested negative in her Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test upon arrival in Manila on board Emirates Flight EK 332 on January 7.

Usman said the OFW is not considered a close contact of the UK variant index case but just happened to be on board the same flight that the latter took from Dubai.

The OFW arrived in Cotabato City on January 17, by land transportation from Manila, and is on quarantine while awaiting the result of her new RT-PCR test.

“First swab test in Manila last January 7 was negative. Result of repeat swab test done yesterday will be out tomorrow. Sana negative pa din (We hope it’s still negative), Dr. Meyasser Patadon, Cotabato City Health Officer, told MindaNews.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), he said, traced the whereabouts of all the passengers of that flight, with the last two passengers traced on Tuesday, including the OFW here.

Usman said the OFW was re-swabbed on Tuesday, January 26 or 19 days after she arrived in Manila and tested negative. He said results are expected to be out on Wednesday.

The DOH and the Philippine Genome Center on January 13 confirmed the detection of the B.1.1.7. SARS-CoV-2 variant (UK variant) in the country after samples from a male resident of Quezon City who went on a business trip to Dubai on January 27 and returned to the country on January 7 yielded positive genome sequencing results.  (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)