The Quezon City local government unit will conduct contact tracing and testing in a community within Riverside in Barangay Commonwealth after a 35-year-old man who was quarantined for COVID-19 was tested positive for B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant) after his samples were sequenced at the Philippine Genome Center.
The Quezon City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) learned in February 10 from the Department of Health (DOH) that the man’s sample tested positive for the UK variant. He and his companion in their apartment will be transferred to the Hope Facility today, February 11.
“We want to make sure that nobody was infected with Covid-19, especially by the much more contagious B.1.1.7 variant. We are acting very quickly to isolate the two, and to conduct extensive contact tracing and testing in the area. It is unfortunate that we learned about this only now,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.
Earlier, DOH referred to the man who hails from Liloan, Cebu as the eighth UK variant case, whose sample was collected on January 17. The DOH tagged the man as an active case with mild symptom. He was a former OFW from Korea, who returned to the Philippines last August 2020 and stayed in Cebu.
On November 17, 2020 he moved to Sucat, Paranaque. He made frequent trips to a manning agency in Malate, Manila. His last visit to the manning agency was on January 14, after securing another overseas placement.
While waiting for deployment, he rode a taxi and stayed in a hotel in Manila on January 17. On that same day, he underwent a swab test in Pasay City.
The following day, he was informed that he tested positive for COVID-19 and his sample was sent to the Philippine Genome Center. He continued to stay in the same hotel until January 21, and thereafter his agency booked a ride via a ride-hailing app and transferred him to an apartment in Riverside.
On February 5, his genome sequencing results showed he contracted the B.1.1.7 variant. On February 8, he developed a mild cough. On February 10, his agency arranged another swab test. His companion was also swabbed.
“Their condition will be strictly monitored by our experts, and we assure them that they will be well taken cared of in our facility,” said Dr. Rolly Cruz, CESU head.
The Mayor is now seeking legal advice as to whether the manning agency is liable for not following health protocols. “This agency placed an entire community at risk by bringing a Covid-19 positive patient to our city, considering that both their agency and the quarantine hotel are in Manila.”
She is appealing to the Bureau of Quarantine to determine why the hotel released the man to the agency several days after he tested positive.