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Davao City Health Office Remains Vigilant On B.1.1.7 Virus Strain After First Known Case

The Davao City government remains vigilant on the coronavirus situation after the city recorded its first known case of the B.1.1.7 or the Covid-19 UK variant in a 10-year-old male.

The city government has also stepped up investigation and contact tracing on the possible link or source of the more contagious coronavirus strain.

Dr. Ashley G. Lopez, the acting City Health Officer, allayed fears of a surge in cases after the first case in Davao City, saying, the first case should not cause panic for this is an isolated case and the risk of transmission is very low.

Last week, a result came out from the sixth batch of samples sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) on February 8. Out of the additional 19 cases of the B.1.1.7 in the country, three (3) were from Davao Region. Two (2) of which are from Davao de Oro and one (1) from Davao City.

The report prompted Lopez and his health team to immediately investigate the case and went to the identified residences of the 10-year-old boy.

Lopez said that based on the index case the patient’s grandmother, who completed 21 days of quarantine, has already recovered. The boy had direct exposure to the grandmother during holidays for over a month.

“Ang bata, after nag-positive on January 18, was immediately isolated in the city’s TTMF for children,” Lopez said. After 10 days the boy was sent home and continued quarantine for four more days, according to Lopez.

He added that the child has also fully recovered on February 1 but remains in quarantine at home.

“Basing on the history taken from the family, wala gyud sila’y history of travel even for the past one year. Wala pud sila’y contact with any UK variant suspect or foreigner. Wala gyud ta’y makuha na history on exposure to a probable UK variant,” Lopez said.

According to Lopez, the epidemiology experts said that the child can’t contract the variant without any contact. There is no clear evidence yet how the first known case contracted the B.1.1.7 strain, he added.

The City Health officer assured that outside transmission is less likely because the family was compliant with basic health protocols. Also, the parents have already taken the RT-PCR test and both have negative results.

The child’s father has a barbershop that has been locked down. CHO is also investigating those who went to the barbershop but are considered F3 or third generation of transmission. The boy has two siblings but rarely go out of their house since both are having modular classes.

“For now, I only see a very slim chance of a possible surge from this case,” he said, adding that the CHO will remain vigilant on this case.

“Kung high-risk transmission gyud ni siya himuan natog paagi  For now, I don’t see any possibility of outside transmission,” Lopez added.

CHO has also looked into the risk assessment in both of the boy’s residences to check if the cases in these areas are increasing since the UK variant is known to be more transmissible.

Lopez said that since the first UK variant case was reported there was no increase in the trend and there is no evidence of community transmission of the UK variant.

Scientists say that the U.K. variant has several mutations that affect the “spike protein” on the virus surface that attaches to human cells while SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, acquires about one new mutation in its genome every two weeks.
(City Information Office | Michael Manguhig, RPN DXKT Davao OIC)

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