QC won't lock down barangay in first COVID-19 UK variant case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 14) — Strict quarantine rules will not be imposed in the residential area of the first Filipino infected with the new COVID-19 variant, Quezon City officials said on Thursday.

"Kamuning is not in any way more risky than any other part of this country. Huwag po sana natin i-zero in on Kamuning lamang because that is exactly what we're trying to prevent — discrimination of a community, which has no basis whatsoever in science," said Mayor Joy Belmonte in a media briefing, referring to a barangay.

She said more proof is needed to consider the patient as an isolated case since his sample was tested at random. Only the positive COVID-19 test results of travelers from areas with confirmed coronavirus variants are sent to the Philippine Genome Center for review. The United Arab Emirates, where the patient came from, has not reported cases of any emerging variant.

"While there's so much attention given to Quezon City because Quezon City has the first variant, it is just coincidental that he happens to reside in Kamuning. It is not an indication that it's not in other parts of the country by now," Bemonte said.

She then appealed to the national government to add the UAE in the list of travel restrictions.

The 29-year-old male real estate agent is the country's first case of the more transmissible COVID-19 variant. He lives in Kamuning with his girlfriend, mother, and two siblings. He was negative for COVID-19 on December 25 before his flight to Dubai. He also tested negative upon arrival in the Gulf state. He tested positive in the swab test after he returned to the Philippines on January 7. His test result was reviewed by the Philippine Genome Center.

Local officials quarantined the patient's family and they will undergo RT-PCR tests. The patient's girlfriend will take another swab test as a precautionary measure even after she tested negative for COVID-19 upon arrival. The medical workers who came in contact with the patient will also be isolated.

Dr. Rolly Cruz from the city's Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit also said 10 passengers onboard the flight of the patient are being traced since they are all residents in the city.