No local transmission of UK variant of virus in Davao, official says

A medical worker of the Southern Philippines Medical Center, prepares a dose of the Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac vaccine during the start of the Covid-19 vaccination program at the state-run hospital in Davao City on Friday, 5 Mar 2021. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 March 2021) – There is no evidence yet of local transmission of the UK variant or B.1.1.7 in the city nearly month after health authorities confirmed that a 10-year-old boy had tested positive of the more infectious strain of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), an official said.

During his program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Wednesday, City Health Office acting head Dr. Ashley Lopez said the city has no active case of the UK variant or any other mutated variants.

He said the boy, the city’s lone UK variant case so far, has already recovered after testing positive of the infection last January 18.

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

The family had completed the additional 14-day home quarantine, as ordered by local health authorities shortly after the results of the genome sequencing at the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center were released last February 13, he added.

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

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

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

The 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 one.

“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 assured.

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

He said the COVID-19 molecular laboratory at the airport continues to cater to arriving passengers who are willing to get tested for free.

As of March 10, the Department of Health-Davao reported 62 new cases, bringing the total to 20,401, with 1,075 active ones, 18,457 recoveries, and 869 deaths in the region.

Of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 incidence in Mindanao, tallied 13,283 cases, with 557 active ones, 12,079 recoveries, and 647 deaths.

Davao de Oro reported 1,192 cases, Davao del Norte 3,068, Davao del Sur 1,379, Davao Occidental 212, and Davao Oriental 1,267. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)