GenSan records first mutant COVID-19 strain from UK

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 13 April) – The city government confirmed on Monday night the area’s first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mutant strain involving a returning resident infected with a variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom (UK).

General Santos City. Map courtesy of Google

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said in an advisory that the patient is a 58-year-old male from Barangay San Isidro here who was earlier identified as among the close contacts of a COVID-19 case in his undisclosed workplace.

Rivera said the patient was able to travel to the city as he is considered an authorized person outside of residence or APOR.

The mayor did not provide the travel details of the patient but a bulletin of positive cases released by the local government on March 28 showed a person with same profile identified as GSC2156.

Rivera said the latter’s test samples were among those sent to the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center for genome sequencing.

He said the result, which was released through the Department of Health-Region 12 Monday morning, confirmed that the patient was infected with the B.1.1.7 variant of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The B117 strain was initially detected by experts in the UK in December last year and has since spread to other countries, including the Philippines.

“This new variant is more contagious, virulent and dangerous so we need to be more serious and intensify the interventions that we have been undertaking,” Rivera said.

He added that the patient and his family have already been isolated and being closely monitored by health workers.

The City Health Office has already completed the contact-tracing for the latter until the third level, he said.

The mayor advised residents, visitors and other individuals entering the city to always comply with the minimum health protocols, especially the wearing of face mask and face shield, and the observance of safe physical distancing.

He said everyone should meet in open spaces where there is constant air flow and avoid engaging with other people for more than 30 minutes.

As of Monday night, the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city already reached a total of 2,270, with 89 related deaths, and 2,098 recoveries.

The CHO reported a total of 83 active cases, with 20 new COVID-19 infections and 10 recoveries recorded in the last two days. (MindaNews)

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