THE Department of Health (DOH) will deploy 50 additional contact tracers in Bontoc town in Mountain Province, where a cluster of coronavirus infections with the B.1.1.7 variant has been detected.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Saturday, January 23, 2021, that they have also recommended the extension of a lockdown in the area. Eleven of the 12 B.1.1.7 variant cases confirmed in Bontoc come from one barangay.
"The recommendation is an additional two weeks of lockdown so that we will be able to confine the cases in that area,” Vergeire said.
She said they have learned that a returning overseas Filipino arrived in the country on December 13, 2020 and went home to Bontoc after testing negative for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
"They supposedly had a small celebration with their families and a ritual because of their belief. After this, the symptoms started already," said Vergeire.
The 12 cases in Bontoc were among the 16 additional cases of the B.1.1.7 variant that the DOH confirmed on January 22.
Including the first confirmed case in Quezon City, there are a total of 17 variant cases in the Philippines as of January 23.
Aside from the cases in Bontoc and Quezon City, there is also one case in La Trinidad in Benguet, one in Calamba City in Laguna and two returning overseas Filipinos. (HDT / SunStar Philippines)