BAGUIO CITY – Contact tracing czar Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the Department of Health (DOH) is now organizing a team of more than 60 trained contact tracers to be fielded in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to track down cases of the United Kingdom variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the region.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong (JJ Landingin / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Magalong said DOH Assistant Secretary Dr. Maria Francia Laxamana and DOH Epidemiology Bureau Medical Specialist IV Dr. Alethea de Guzman informed him the team members will come from Regions 1, 2 and 3 and the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (RIATF MEID).

The tracing team will be supervised by Magalong, himself.

Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey, in a social media post, said the UK variant of the coronavirus was detected in the capital town of Mountain Province, with 12 of 35 specimens testing positive for the more communicable variant.

Odsey, who is now on self quarantine after contracting the disease last January 15, said, lockdowns in every barangay with COVID-19 positives were still in effect.

He assured the municipal government was doing its best to help deter the spread of the new variant, and advised his constituents to keep safe, cooperate and be part of the solution.

In an earlier press statement, the DOH said that of the 12 cases in Bontoc, seven were male and five were female. Three were aged below 18 years old, and another three were above 60.

The La Trinidad patient was described as a “local case” having had no travel history from outside the country.  The patient is currently admitted at the Benguet Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility.

The country now has a total of 17 cases of the UK variant which is said to be a more contagious type.

The first case was a resident of Quezon City who had travel history to the United Arab Emirates, while the others were two returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) from Lebanon, and one from Calamba City in Laguna who was also considered a local case.

The DOH said that apart from immediate contact tracing operations, it will also conduct an investigation to identify these cases’ exposure and travel histories as it called on the public to intensify adherence to the health protocols.

Source: Manila Bulletin (