Hong Kong detects new coronavirus variant in passenger from PH

 By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

PHOTO: Yahoo News

Hong Kong health officials said it detected a positive result of the UK variant of COVID-19 in a traveller who returned from Manila on December 22.

In a virtual press briefing on Tuesday, January 5, Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Communicable Disease Branch of Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection, said they detected 4 cases of the new variant in their country. Among the cases was a 30-year-old female, a Hong Kong resident, who returned from Manila on December 22.

The traveler arrived in Hong Kong on board Philippine Airlines flight PR300 and now tagged case 9003.

"[Case] 9003 took PR 300 and arrived in Hong Kong on the 22nd of December from [the] Philippines," Chuang said in a briefing of the special administrative region's Information Services Department.

Other patients under monitoring that came from the UK and France have also tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant.

In a message to reporters past midnight Wednesday, January 6, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have "initiated coordination" with the International Health Regulations focal point of Hong Kong for further details.

According to Vergeire, they are also retrieving the flight manifest of flight PR 300.

The Department of Health on Saturday, January 2, clarified that no case of new variant of COVID-19 from UK is detected in the Philippines.

According to DOH, all RT-PCR positive specimens from countries with confirmed 13K variant are to undergo genome sequencing beginning Monday, January 4.

The variant which first detected in the United Kingdom in September, includes a genetic mutation that, in theory, could be more contagious as scientists have said it is 40-70 percent more transmissible than the original strain.


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