The Quezon City government is currently investigating how the mother of the QC resident who returned from Dubai and tested positive with the UK variant of Covid-19 got the disease.
After the Philippine Genome Center confirmed that a passenger of Flight EK 332 from Dubai had the UK variant, the Quezon City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU) immediately conducted contact tracing and swab testing of his identified close contacts including healthcare workers and barangay frontliners who assisted and cared for him when he was transferred from the quarantine hotel in Manila to the isolation facility in Quezon City where he remains today.
As a precautionary measure, the patient’s immediate household members, including his mother, were also isolated and swabbed. Only the mother tested positive for Covid-19. Dr. Rolly Cruz, Head of the CESU, said the mother’s swab sample was brought to the Philippine Genome Center last week to check if hers is the common COVID-19 virus or the UK variant. “Her results will be released any day now”, he added.
“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,” said Cruz.
Meanwhile, all the frontliners from Brgy. Kamuning received negative test results, but one healthcare worker at the Hope isolation facility where the index case is located tested positive. Dr. Cruz said they are now checking whether his result is due to remnants of the disease due to a recent Covid-19 infection, or to a new infection.
In addition to his mother, the girlfriend of the UK variant case also tested positive after she was re-swabbed. Her first test administered immediately after returning from Dubai was negative, and because of this, she was advised to complete her 14-day self-quarantine at home where she lives alone. She was transferred to an isolation facility immediately when CESU learned the index case had the UK variant. Her sample has also been sent to the Philippine Genome Center. “We will soon learn whether she has the UK variant like the index case, or the regular Covid-19 virus,” said Cruz.
As confirmed by the Department of Health earlier, two other co-passengers who initially tested negative yielded a positive result during re-swabbing. The two, who are not from QC and seated far from the index case, are currently isolated and under strict monitoring. The DOH is now awaiting the results to determine if they are also infected with the UK variant.
Dr. Cruz also clarified that out of the 9 positive cases from the Emirates flight as announced by the DOH, only the UK variant case is a Quezon City resident. The other eight positive cases come from elsewhere.
Another 7 of 8 co-passengers who reside in Quezon City are now in quarantine while awaiting their second test results. They were first swabbed and tested negative after arriving from Dubai. Efforts are still being exerted to locate the eighth passenger with the help of the PNP and Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ).
As of today, the UK variant case has nearly recovered, Dr. Cruz said. “We are just waiting for guidance from the DOH if he still needs to extend his quarantine period to ensure he will no longer be infectious,” he added.
In light of these events, the Quezon City government strongly encourages all Filipinos returning from abroad to adhere to the 14-day quarantine period regardless of test results.