Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained that the 84-year-old man from La Trinidad, Benguet who was the Philippines’ first fatality due to the new UK coronavirus variant had a comorbidity.

“The history says that he never left the house but we have to understand that he also has comorbid conditions. He had asthma,” Vergeire told CNN Philippines.

Vergeire said the patient’s diagnosis after death was linked to asthma. 

“When he was swabbed before he died, it turned out that he was positive so his sample was sent to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC),” she added.

The Department of Health announced last week that the patient died on January 24, while his 15-year-old female relative also tested positive for the UK variant. 

“We are still looking at his contacts because in that specific area we also have a person who was identified with the variant but we cannot establish the linkage with this person so we are still getting other information,” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, 22 of the 25 UK variant patients have already recovered from the new strain while only two cases remain active. 

Over 700 samples will be sequenced by the PCG this week to check other cases of the new UK variant. 

Currently, the country posted 540,227 total Covid-19 infections with 499,764 recoveries and 11,296 fatalities. Ronald dela Cruz