Negrense ROFs with suspected UK COVID-19 variant now 4

BACOLOD CITY–The number of Negrenses ROFs (returning overseas Filipinos) suspected of bearing the United Kingdom COVID-19 variant is now four.

Atty. Rayfrando Diaz, provincial administrator, identified the suspected cases as a couple from Pontevedra who came from London; a teacher in Talisay City who came from the US Virgin Islands; and a Bago City resident who came from Egypt.

Diaz said their swab samples were sent to the Philippine Genome Center just on Monday as only Philippine Airlines agreed to carry it to Manila. The other airlines flat-out refused, he added.

All four tested positive for COVID-19 and came from countries with confirmed cases of the UK variant.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson explained that the Pontevedra couple were swabbed again to reflect their actual qualification as ROFs instead of LSIs, which was how they were first identified.

He said the results are expected to come out on Wednesday.

NEGROS Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson does not tire in reminding everyone to strictly abide by the minimum health protocols./INews

The spouses are now quarantined at Pontevedra’s isolation facility while the other two are at the Provincial Healing Center in EB Magalona.

In an earlier radio interview, Pontevedra Mayor Jose Maria Alonso revealed that the couple had tested positive for COVID-19 two days after they arrived in Negros Occidental on January 16 and tested positive again on Friday, January 22.

Zeaphard Caelian, head of the Humanitarian Response Team of the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force, advised the concerned couple to follow the protocols implemented by the local Inter-Agency Task Force of their town and wait until the results of their latest samples come out.

The B117 strain or the UK variant appears to spread much more easily than previous strains of COVID-19 – some data shows that it spreads up to 70 percent more easily – probably due to a mutation in how the virus enters human cells, scientists say.

Lacson reiterated his appeal to Negrenses to always follow minimum health protocols./(Eugene Y. Adiong/INews-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)

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