Hong Kong Detects New COVID-19 Variant in Traveler from Philippines

Hong Kong has detected the new United Kingdom COVID-19 variant from a passenger who arrived from our country on December 22, 2020. The patient was tagged as case 9003.

This information was disclosed by the Information Services of the Government of Hong Kong on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, through a virtual press briefing with Hong Kong’s head of the Communicable Disease Branch of the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health, Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan.

“9003 took PR 300 and arrived in Hong Kong on the 22nd of December from Philippines,” said the head of the Hong Kong Health Department’s communicable disease branch.

Source: Information Services Department| Government of Hong Kong

The CNN Philippines, today (Wednesday), January 6, 2021, reported that Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire has said that the Department of Health (DOH) is coordinating with the International Health Regulations (IHR) of Hong Kong for further details.

The New Variant in UK

The new variant strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus, which has been detected in the United Kingdom (UK) was predicted to be more contagious than other circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2. It was referred to as “SARS-CoV-2 VOC 202012/01” or  “B117“.

“A new variant strain of SARS-CoV-2 that contains a series of mutations has been described in the United Kingdom (UK) and become highly prevalent in London and southeast England,” stated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC added, “Based on these mutations, this variant strain has been predicted to potentially be more rapidly transmissible than other circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2.”

Thus, on December 23, 2020, it was announced through the official Facebook page of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson that all UK flights to the Philippines will be temporarily suspended starting December 24, 2020, until December 31, 2020.

And on January 2, 2021, the official Facebook page of the Bureau of Immigration, Republic of the Philippines has published an advisory containing the “Updated Travel Restriction Guidelines of All Travelers from Countries with Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 B117 Strain (SARS-COV2 Variant Detected in the United Kingdom wherein they listed 21 travel-restricted countries.

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Source: Information Services Department| Government of Hong Kong, CNN Philippines

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