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Mother, girlfriend of Filipino with UK coronavirus variant positive for COVID-19 —DOH

The mother and the girlfriend of the Filipino male who tested positive for the UK variant of the new coronavirus have tested positive for COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

At an online briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the results of the tests on the two women were sent to the Philippine Genome Center to determine if they were also infected with the UK variant, which is reportedly more transmissible.

“At the earliest [na] makakapagbigay tayo ng update [kung may UK variant sila] ay Thursday night or Friday morning,” Vergeire said.

She added that while another close contact of the Filipino male has tested positive for COVID-19, authorities discovered that it is unlikely that his results will be sent to the Philippine Genome Center since the said close contact was a recovering COVID-19 patient.

“Nag-positive po siya sa COVID-19 noong second week of December, at puwede po mag-stay ang remnants ng virus at ma-detect ito as far as eight weeks,” she said.

Out of the 213 close contacts of the Filipino male who tested positive for the UK variant, six have yet to be located by authorities. The rest, however, have been tested for COVID-19 and are currently in isolation as well.

In a statement, the DOH said a total of 13 people linked to the initial case of the UK variant have tested positive for COVID-19, including eight co-passengers and five close contacts.

Samples from the five close contacts have been sent to the PGC for sequencing to determine if they are also carriers of the UK variant, while the eight co-passengers are completing their mandatory quarantine.

“Contact tracing also showed that the eight cases had no close contact when they arrived, and infection and prevention control practices were strictly observed by personnel who attended to the said cases,” the DOH said.

The male Filipino arrived in the Philippines on board a flight from the United Arab Emirates last January 7. He and his girlfriend went to the UAE in late December for a business trip.

Since then, the Philippines has banned travelers from UAE and at least 30 other countries from entering the country.

The Philippines has recorded 504,084 cases as of January 19. Of this number, 466,249 have recovered while 9,978 have died.  The number of active COVID-19 cases is at 27,857. — with Julia Mari Ornedo/KBK/BM, GMA News