The city government of Baguio said that some of its coronavirus disease cases were discovered to have “potential links” to the new variant that originated from the United Kingdom.
The public information office of the city urged residents who have attended two family gatherings in Bontoc from December 25 to 26, 2020 to contact its Health Services Office or the nearest health centers for contact tracing and monitoring purposes.
“Ongoing contact tracing and link analyses revealed some COVID-19 cases in Baguio had potential links to UK variant cases in La Trinidad and Bontoc. At least four COVID-19 cases in Baguio had been determined to have had possible connection to the Bontoc patients,” its Facebook post reads on Monday.
Those who knew people who had attended such gatherings were also asked to contact the authorities as soon as possible.
As of January 24, Baguio’s COVID-19 bulletin data showed that the City of Pines has a total of 4,772 cases wherein 480 or 10.016% of which are active cases.
Last Saturday, the city reported that the UK variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus or B.1.1.7 has been detected in one person from La Trinidad, Benguet.
A total of 12 new COVID-19 variant cases were also detected in Bontoc last Friday. The municipality has the highest number of B.1.1.7 cases in the country so far.
The Department of Health said that the last batch of the COVID-19 variant was mainly from the Cordillera Administrative Region as of Monday.
The OCTA Research Group, composed of experts from the University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas, likewise noted that the “dozen cases” of the COVID-19 variant cases in Bontoc “confirms the patterns that were observed in the post-holiday surge there.”
Meanwhile, the DOH in the Central Visayas region were reported that it is monitoring an overseas Filipino worker who arrived from Dubai and had tested positive for COVID-19.
Her sample was sent to the Philippine Genome Center for genome sequencing on Monday to determine if she is infected with the new COVID-19 variant.
B.1.1.7. was initially detected in the United Kingdom last month.
It is considered to be more contagious but data remains “uncertain” as to whether it is actually more lethal than the previous variant that dominated the UK.
The DOH reminded the public that strict adherence to the minimum public health protocols is the best way to prevent infection.
These include wearing of properly-fitted face masks and face shields and observing physical distance measures, especially in public areas.