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DOH says some co-passengers of new COVID variant patient reject phone calls

A number of passengers listed on the flight manifesto of the traveller from Dubai who tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant are rejecting calls, said the Department of Health.

The 29-year-old patients, considered as the Philippine’s patient zero of the new variant of COVID-19 first reported in the United Kingdom, arrived from Dubai last January 7 via Emirates Flight No. EK 332.

DOH spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an interview with Teleradyo on Thursday: “Some passengers are rejecting our call. Sana po ay kausapin nila kami para…mabigyan namin sila ng guidelines on what they should do.”

Vergeire also stressed on the importance of contact tracing to prevent the spread of the new variant.

Aside from contacting the passengers identified to be on the same flight with the patient, the DOH said it is also seeking the help of the travellers’ respective local government units.

“Kailangan talaga to strictly comply with minimum public health standards para hindi magkaroon ng transmission of this variant in the country,” Vergeire said.

The country’s first confirmed case of the UK variant was confirmed by the DOH on Wednesday.

“Following strengthened surveillance and border control efforts, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Genome Center today confirm the detection of the B.1.1.7 Sars-COV 2 (UK Variant) in the country,” the DOH said.

The patient, immediately after arrival in the Philippines, underwent a swab test and quarantined in a hotel.
His female companion tested negative for the virus and is now undergoing strict quarantine protocols.

Both of the passengers said that they had no exposure to COVID-19 positive individuals and had no travel activities outside Quezon City.

Photo by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

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