QC isolates 143 individuals following PH's first case of new COVID-19 variant

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 16) — A total of 143 individuals, including passengers on the same flight from the United Arab Emirates taken by the new COVID-19 variant patient and their close contacts, have been contacted and were on quarantine, Mayor Joy Belmonte said Saturday.

During a Laging Handa briefing, Belmonte said the local government has traced those first-generation contacts, including the Quezon City-based passengers and persons who have been in close contact with them, health workers and staff who assisted the patient to a quarantine facility.

Belmonte noted seven out of the eight passengers have been tested and quarantined.

The other one, however, was missing as the passenger did not provide correct contact details, she added.

"More than half of them have already been swabbed, and all of them are already on quarantine," the Quezon City mayor assured.

She said results of the swab tests were still being awaited.

Last Wednesday, the Department of Health reported that the more infectious variant of the deadly virus has reached the Philippines after samples from a Filipino who arrived on a flight from the UAE posted positive genome sequencing results.

Asked about the condition of the patient, Belmonte said the Filipino was found to be asymptomatic and already recovering.

"Hindi nga natin nailipat sa hospital e. This proves that while mas nakakahawa ang new variant, ang effect hindi naman mas grabe," she added.

[Translation: We did not even transfer him to the hospital. This proves that while the new variant is more contagious, the effect is not more severe.]