7 more co-passengers of UK variant patient not yet located: DOH

7 more co-passengers of UK variant patient not yet located: DOH

MANILA – The remaining seven passengers of Emirates Flight EK 332 which carried the 29-year-old Filipino patient who tested positive for the more transmissible United Kingdom (UK) variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) have not yet been traced by the authorities, a health official said Monday.

In a virtual media briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 152 out of the 159 passengers of the flight have been located by the contact tracing teams.

“In a matter of days, we were able to contact all of them except for seven persons, na talagang ‘yung address and even the contact number ay hindi talaga namin mahanap (whose addresses and even contact numbers we can’t really find). So, we were able to do 152 and they were all swabbed in a matter of days,” Vergeire added.

She said the traced passengers are currently under quarantine.

As the DOH is planning an expanded contact tracing effort for the seven passengers, Vergeire said they have already coordinated with Contact Tracing Czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

On Jan. 13, the DOH and the Philippine Genome Center confirmed the detection of the UK variant in the country after samples from a Filipino who arrived from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Jan. 7 yielded positive genome sequencing results.

The UAE was not included in the country’s list of countries with travel restrictions when the passengers of the EK 332 flight arrived in the country so there was no need for them to be immediately quarantined in government facilities.

“Lahat ng pasahero niyan noong dumating sila dito, they were complying with the usual protocol na kapag ikaw ay nag-test (All of its passengers, they were complying with the usual protocol that when you test) negative, you can be allowed to go home and do your quarantine at home,” Vergeire said. (PNA)

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