By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Yahoo News

Malacañang said Tuesday the government’s “very effective” contact tracing and isolation helped in containing the new coronavirus variant that originated from United Kingdom.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said 22 out of 25 individuals who tested positive to the new variant were already recovered.

“It looked like our contract tracing has been very effective. We isolated those who need to be isolated. Hopefully, because this is a new variant, we are able to stop (its spread),” Roque said in Filipino, adding that this is the reason why the government decided to fund the Philippine Genome Center (PGC).

The PGC, which is controlled by the government and the University of the Philippines (UP), is tasked to monitor the transmission of more infectious variant.

In January, PGC identified the country’s first new variant case — a passenger who arrived from United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Since then, the Philippines has recorded 25 cases of the variant that first emerged in the UK. On Monday, the country logged its first death from the new variant in an 84-year-old from La Trinidad, Benguet. There are two other active cases. 

Roque also clarified reports that said the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Cebu was because of the UK variant B.1.17: “That is not confirmed. The confirmation is that there is someone (originally) from Cebu but it is not confirmed if (the person) is in Cebu.”

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