4 Bontoc barangays locked down for new COVID variant

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BONTOC, Mountain Province  – Four barangays in this capital town were placed under 14-day hard lockdown following the reported presence of the new Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) variant among some of the populace.

Mayor Franklin Odsey stated that the barangays that had been placed under lockdown from January 15-31, 2021 include Samoki, Poblacion, Bontoc Ili and Caluttit to pave the way for the aggressive contact tracing of the close contacts of the 12 reported carriers of the UK variant who were earlier placed under strict isolation in some health facilities inside and outside the municipality.

He said that of the 12 confirmed carriers of the UK variant, 8 are confined at the Bontoc General Hospital and at the Luis Hora Regional Memorial Hospital in Bauko town while the 4 asymptomatic patients, including the primary carrier of the same, have been required to undergo the prescribed 14-day isolation.

The local chief executive claimed that the source of the new COVID variant is an immigrant to the United Kingdom who came to the capital town to spend a vacation.

However, the immigrant reportedly tested negative for the virus upon arrival in the country, thus, he was allowed to travel to Bontoc last December.

Unfortunately, after a few days, he reportedly manifested mild symptoms of the virus that prompted his relatives to bring him to the hospital where he was immediately subjected to the required swab test which eventually turned out to be positive, thus, the submission of the samples to health authorities for further tests because e he came from the origin of the new variant.

According to hi, must of the contacts of the immigrant are his family members and relatives who attended a homecoming gathering which is part of the traditions of the people in the locality.

Mayor Odsey pointed out that the situation is still under control because of the outright implementation of the lockdown aside from the ongoing aggressive contact tracing to ensure that all those who attended the gathering will be tested and will be required to still undergo quarantine even if they do not manifest symptoms of the virus as part of the preventive measures to abate the spread of the virus in the community.  He added that month the individuals infected with the new variant include a 5 and 6-year old children who are asymptomatic, thus, they are undergoing home isolation under the close supervision of their father.

He urged individuals who attended the previous gatherings in the residence of the immigrant to submit themselves for check-up by health authorities even if they do not manifest the symptoms of the virus so that they will be given the appropriate advise to prevent them from possibly spreading the new variant in the municipality.

Of the 17 cases of the new variant that have been discovered in the country, 12 have been traced in Bontoc while 1 has been identified to be a resident of La Trinidad, Benguet. By Dexter A. See

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