Covid-19 UK Variant is in the Philippines NOW!

The new and more infectious variant of Covid-19 first reported in the United Kingdom has been detected in the Philippines.

In a statement Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) said the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) reported the detection of the new variant, known as B117, after samples from a Filipino who arrived from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Jan. 7 yielded positive genome sequencing results.

The patient with the UK variant is a male resident of Quezon City who departed for Dubai on Dec. 27 for business purposes and arrived in the Philippines last Jan. 7 via Emirates Flight No. EK 332.

This is really bad news for us. The variant is described as far more contagious than earlier variants of the coronavirus, but not necessarily more deadly or likely to make an infected person more sick. Experts now think the new variant is between 50% and 74% more transmissible than other dominant strains.

We have already seen an uptick in the past few days. This may be due to the family and religious gatherings and parties from the holiday season. The large crowd gatherings from the El Shaddai group and the Traslacion 2021 may also contribute to the increase of new daily cases. These crowded events have violated health protocols. Many labeled them as super spreaders of the coronavirus.

Do we expect an increase of new daily cases in the coming days? I pray this will not happen.

Mike Mar

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