May 20, 2021 – City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo reported that the current Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant afflicting patients in the city appeared to be far more infectious and fast-moving as she echoed Mayor Benjamin Magalong’s suspicions that UK and other variants might have now been widespread in the city.

“Before, we would record one person in one family or household getting infected and isolation would prevent its spread.  Not so this time.  By the time we realize that one has it, the whole family is also infected,” Galpo said.

“As the mayor said, yes we must have the variants,” she added.

However she said the while the new variants are more contagious, the mode of transmission remains the same and thus, same prevention measures can be done to avoid getting infected.

“The best prevention remains to be the wearing of face mask and face shield, physical distancing, proper washing of hands, avoidance of crowd, close conversation and confined spaces and proper ventilation,” she stressed.

Currently, the city has a total of 27 known cases of B1117 of UK variant but the mayor believes the city has more cases than what was reported by the Philippine Genome Center but which cannot be captured due to limitations in processing all the specimens submitted by the city.

As to the Indian variant or the B1617, Galpo said one returning Filipino worker (ROF) from the city who was on the same flight with one of the positive case is now being monitored.

The resident had tested negative for the virus in the three RT-PCR tests done and has not exhibited symptom thus far.

The ROF was not a close contact and just happened to be in the same flight with the patient but tracking and monitoring were done just the same to make sure that there was no transmission. – Aileen P. Refuerzo