16 new cases of UK COVID-19 variant detected in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 22) – The Department of Health on Friday confirmed the detection of 16 new cases of the UK COVID-19 variant in the country.

The DOH said twelve of the 16 additional cases are from Bontoc, Mountain Province. Town mayor Franklin Odsey also confirmed the 12 patients who tested positive of the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19.

"12 out of 35 specimens from COVID-19 positive cases in this capital town have been confirmed to be of the UK variant. The Bontoc LGU urges everyone to intensify adherence to basic health protocols. Lockdown is still in effect," Odsey said.

Of the 12 positive cases in Bontoc, the DOH said seven are male and five are female. Three are aged below 18 and another three are above 60.

The other two patients who tested positive of the UK COVID-19 variant are overseas Filipino workers who returned to the country last Dec. 29 from Lebanon via a Philippine Airlines flight.

The first case is a 64-year old female from Jaro, Iloilo City. She was isolated in San Juan City and discharged on January 9. The other is a 47-year old female OFW, reportedly a resident of Binangonan, Rizal. She was quarantined in New Clark City and discharged from isolation on January 13.

The remaining two are local cases detected in La Trinidad, Benguet and Calamba City, Laguna. Both have no known contact with any confirmed case or travel history from outside the country.

The positive case from La Trinidad is currently admitted in a Benguet temporary treatment and monitoring facility, while the 23-year-old male in Laguna has been discharged after testing negative on January 16.

Of the 16 cases, the DOH says three have already recovered. Among the 13 active cases, three are asymptomatic and 10 have mild symptoms.

"Biosurveillance is in place, and we will continue to expand our capacities to detect all COVID variants of public health importance," the DOH said in a statement.

The department called on concerned local government units to ensure strict monitoring and compliance with quarantine protocols in their respective localities.

The additional cases bring the total infected UK COVID-19 variant patients in the country to 17. The first case, announced by the DOH last January 13, is a 29-year-old male who returned to the country from Dubai last January 7. The DOH on Friday announced that the patient, a resident of Quezon City, is now cleared of coronavirus infection.