Contacts of HK-based OFW test negative for more transmissible COVID-19 variant

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 14) — The close contacts of the Filipino domestic worker who tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant upon arrival in Hong Kong have not been found with the variant that is regarded as more transmissible, Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Thursday.

The 30-year-old Filipina domestic worker came in contact with people from her hometown in Solana, Cagayan and Metro Manila before boarding her flight to Hong Kong on Dec. 22, where she was detected with the UK variant.

"We were able to get samples from all of the contacts, both from Cagayan and in Manila. All were subjected to genome sequencing. Accordingly, based from the results, none appeared to have the variant," she told CNN Philippines.

The whole genome sequencing conducted by the Philippine Genome Center is capable of detecting emerging variants in one test.

The patient in Hong Kong is in stable condition and nearing the end of her mandatory quarantine period, Vergeire added.

Officials on Wednesday confirmed the presence of the B.1.1.7. SARS-CoV-2 variant first reported in United Kingdom in the Philippines. The patient is a 29-year-old Filipino real estate agent from Kamuning in Quezon City who arrived in the country on Jan. 7 from the United Arab Emirates. He is currently in an isolation facility in Quezon City. Vergeire said his "very close contacts" are not showing symptoms related to COVID-19.