NBI locates two fellow passengers of Filipino with new COVID-19 variant
Airline ground staff (L) wearing protective gear work at the counter at the airport in Manila on August 4, 2020.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

NBI locates two fellow passengers of Filipino with new COVID-19 variant

(Philstar.com) - January 25, 2021 - 3:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — Authorities have located the two fellow passengers of the Filipino man who tested positive on the new and more infectious coronavirus variant.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters Monday that the Department of Justice, through the National Bureau of Investigation, located one of the two passengers and has turned him/her over to the Department of Health.

The NBI has also determined the location of the other passenger, Guevarra added.

DOH last week sought the NBI’s assistance in locating two passengers of the Dubai to Manila flight the 29-year-old real estate agent, index case of the new coronavirus variant.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they could not immediately contact two of the more than 150 passengers of the flight, as they have given numbers that could not be reached.

Fourteen of those who have had contact with the index case tested positive for the coronavirus. Six of these are passengers of the same flight, while six are deemed closed contacts.

Vergeire said last week that they are coordinating with the national government agencies on how to improve their system so more accurate and complete details will be provided to the government, for contact tracing efforts.

Last week the local government of Quezon City said the index case, his girlfriend and his mom have tested negative for the coronavirus. Monitoring however will continue as they finish their quarantine period.

Preliminary estimates find the B117 or the one first detected in the United Kingdom between 30% and 70% more contagious than other forms of the virus. Experts warned that an increase in the transmission of the new variant will lead to more people getting infected and sick, which can overwhelm the country's health system anew.

The Philippines has so far recorded at least 17 cases of the new variant. — Kristine Joy Patag

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: March 5, 2021 - 1:26pm

A thread on new variants of SARS-CoV-2 reported in the Philippines.

March 5, 2021 - 1:26pm

The Department of Health reports 52 additional cases B.1.351 variant (South Africa variant) cases and 31 more cases of the B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant) in the country.

Among the latest batch of samples sequenced by the UP-Philippine Genome Center, there are also 42 new cases with mutations in Central Visayas.

"The DOH and its concerned Centers for Health Development is coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and Local Government Units (LGUs) in NCR and Region 7 to institute measures to contain further transmission of these variants and mutations," the DOH says.

March 2, 2021 - 8:25am

The DOH reports two additional samples from Central Visayas with both N501Y and E484K mutations.

Meanwhile, two cases from the region previously reported to have the mutations have been delisted. The total of these mutations in the country remain at 34 cases.

"Despite the arrival of vaccines and the successful initial vaccination activities, the DOH emphasizes that adherence to minimum public health standards is still the best course of action to prevent community transmission and further virus mutations," the DOH says.

March 2, 2021 - 8:21am

The Department of Health reports 30 additional cases with B.1.1.7 variant, first seen in the United Kingdom, in the country. This brings the total cases in the country at 87.

Of the new cases detected in the latest genome sequencing batch, 20 are returning overseas Filipinos, three are local cases and seven are currently being verified.

The 20 detected returning Filipinos came from the Middle East, Singapore and the United States. Thirteen of them are asymptomatic active cases while seven have recovered.

March 2, 2021 - 8:11am

The Philippines joins 47 other countries with reported cases of the B.1.351 variant, which was first detected in South Africa, the Department of Health confirms Tuesday.

The DOH confirms six cases of the variant — three local cases, two returning overseas Filipinos and one still being verified.

"While there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease, the pattern of mutations within this variant suggests higher transmissibility and may have an impact on vaccine efficacy," the DOH says.

February 15, 2021 - 12:37pm

The Department of Health says one of the additional COVID-19 cases positive for the more infectious variant is linked to the MRT-3 cluster.

The patient is the mother of an employee. —  Gaea Katreena Cabico

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