The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday reported 16 more cases of the UK variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the Philippines, with two more local transmission cases.

The two patients with the B117 variant were found in La Trinidad, Benguet and Calamba City, Laguna, with no known contact to any Covid-19 patient, and no travel history outside the country.

The patient from La Trinidad is under monitoring and currently admitted in Benguet. The 23-year-old male from Calamba, on the other hand, has already been discharged after testing negative on January 16. 

Meanwhile, twelve of the 16 new cases detected came from Bontoc, Mountain Province. The DOH said that the patients’ exposure and travel history is still unknown and is being investigated. Contact tracing is ongoing.

Out of the 12 patients from Bontoc, three of them aged below 18 and three more are aged above 60. 

Benguet, Laguna and Mountain Province are currently under modified general community quarantine. People aged 10 to 65 are allowed to go out starting February but the government is scheduled to reconsider quarantine protocols for February.

The remaining cases of the new UK coronavirus variant are two Filipinos who arrived in the country from Lebanon on Dec. 29, 2020 onboard Philippine Airlines flight PR 8661.

One of them is a 64-year-old woman from Jaro, Iloilo City. She was isolated in San Juan City and was discharged on January 9. The other patient is a 47-year-old woman from Binangonan, Rizal. She was quarantined in New Clark City, Pampanga and was discharged on January 13.

The DOH announced that three of the 16 new cases of the B117 variant have already recovered, while 13 are active cases. 

“Biosurveillance is in place, and we will continue to expand our capacities to detect all COVID variants of public health importance,” the DOH said. Ronald dela Cruz