QC probes source of COVID-19 infection of the mother of UK variant case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 21) — Health officials are investigating how the mother of the country's first UK variant case was infected with COVID-19 when the patient did not set foot in their home in Quezon City.

Dr. Rolly Cruz, head of the Quezon City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit, noted that the 29-year-old patient who traveled from Dubai was immediately brought to a quarantine facility after testing positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Manila. The patient's girlfriend, whom he traveled with, was quarantined alone before testing positive for COVID-19. Authorities are clueless how the mother was infected.

“We are already investigating how the mother of our UK variant case got infected with COVID-19, since the index case never set foot at home or in the community and did not have any interaction with her after arriving in the Philippines from Dubai on January 7,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. 

At least 13 people who had contact with the 29-year-old male patient detected with the B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant have been confirmed to have COVID-19. One healthcare worker at the isolation facility in Quezon City housing the patient also tested positive, but authorities are checking if the result is due to remnants of the virus, since that person got infected in December.

RELATED: 13 contacts of Filipino with UK variant test positive for COVID-19

The samples of the 13 people have been sent to the Philippine Genome Center to check if they are carrying the new and more transmissible COVID-19 variants. The results are expected to be released this week.

The 29-year-old patient with the UK variant is nearing the end of his mandatory 14-day quarantine. Cruz said they are waiting for the Health Department's guidance if he needs to extend his quarantine period to ensure he will no longer be infectious.