SEC. ROQUE: Ano po iyong bagong update ninyo tungkol doon sa COVID-19 new variant?
DOH USEC. VERGEIRE: Yes, sir. Gusto lang ho namin magpakita noong update doon sa contact tracing na naisagawa na para dito sa variants. Mabilis lang po.
So for the 1,154 samples sequence from the latest strands sa Philippine Genome Center, iyong last week po, we were able to identify as you all know, 16 additional cases with the B.1.1.7 variant or the UK variant.
This is aside from the case that we have from Dubai, bringing the total to 17. These 16 additional cases were: 2 returning overseas Filipinos from Lebanon on the same flight; 13 from the Cordillera Administrative Region; and a case from Calamba City, Laguna.
First, our 2 returning overseas Filipinos are females aged 47 and 64. They arrived in Manila from Lebanon via PAL PR 8661 last December 29. They were tested and quarantined. When their results came back positive, they were placed in a facility for isolation.
They have finished the mandated isolation and were discharged last January 9 and 13 respectively. One returning overseas Filipino went home to Leon, Iloilo. The other ROF went home to Binangonan, Rizal as indicated in her details but we are still verifying this.
The other 14 cases were traced to 3 different municipalities. First, are 12 cases from Bontoc, Mountain Province – 7 were males, there were 3 aged less than 18 years and 3 aged more than 60 years old; 11 came from just one barangay. The earliest date of illness among all of these cases was on December 31; 3 remain admitted while others have completed their isolation.
We also have a 22-year-old male from La Trinidad, Benguet who was tested last January 7. He is asymptomatic and remains to be isolated in a Benguet temporary treatment and monitoring facility.
The last is a 23-year-old who was tested last December 10 and had already been discharged from isolation. He is from Region IV-A and we are following up on his contact details and the other contacts that he had been with.
So take note that based on the latest available data, our case from Calamba City is not linked to cases from La Trinidad or Bontoc. We are still verifying if there is a link between the La Trinidad case to the Bontoc cases.
So in this table, we would like to show the contact tracing done by the local government officials together with the DOH of the 12 cases of this UK variant. They identified 144 close contacts for these 12 cases.
We can see on this table that our UK variant cases were linked to each other and their exposure occurred at their household, in workplaces and in public places in the community. Eight of the UK variant cases were identified as close contacts of the 4 other UK variant cases.
There were 34 other confirmed cases among the close contacts of this UK variant cases. We are now securing the samples of these 34 positive cases for sequencing at the UP-Philippine Genome Center.
And our ongoing response activities – the lockdown in Bontoc was recommended that it be extended for another 2 weeks. There is further investigation of cases to see if there are linkages among these cases.
But initially, we were already able to identify 3 clusters of infection involving all of these contacts who turned positive and these 3 clusters had linkages with each other. So the contact tracing among all of these 16 new UK variant cases are ongoing and we will be providing information in the coming days.
That’s all, Mr. Secretary. Thank you very much.
SEC. ROQUE: Oo. Ma’am, tanong lang po ‘no, dahil ako’y taga-Baguio ‘no. Ito ba hong kaso ng Bontoc at La Trinidad eh nanggaling doon sa eroplano ng Emirates o ito po ay community acquired? Mayroon na ba ho tayong alam kung saan nanggaling?
DOH USEC. VERGEIRE: Ito po ay bini-verify pa lang, Mr. Secretary, ‘no at atin pong alam na mayroon lang tayong umuwing kababayan noong December 13 at siya po ay nakabalik sa Bontoc Province on December 14. He had celebrations with his family and the other members of the community on December 25 and on the 26th he attended a ritual for their religious beliefs with other members of the community as well.
On December 29, he started feeling symptoms and in the succeeding days, all the other members who are close contacts experienced symptoms also. So iyon pa lang ho ang alam natin sa ngayon, atin pang bini-verify talaga ang original source of infection.
SEC. ROQUE: Maraming salamat, Usec. Vergeire. Nananawagan po ako sa ating mga kapatid diyan sa Bontoc ‘no, kung nakasama ninyo po iyong galing sa abroad na kababayan ninyo na ngayon po ay kumpirmadong nagkasakit, sana po kayo ay maging homeliners, mag-isolate na po kayo at kung mayroon po kayong nararamdaman na symptoms ay agarang pumunta sa pinakamalapit na DOH para kayo po ay mag-test.
Huwag na po kayong makihalubilo sa iba dahil alam ninyo naman po ‘no, ang Bontoc dati kakaunti lang ang kaso at kaya pa rin po nating ma-isolate ito ‘no. Hindi naman ibig sabihin na dapat kumalat ito kung tayo po ay mag-a-isolate na ngayon.