The traveler from the Philippines who tested positive for the UK COVID-19 variant is a Filipina domestic helper in Hong Kong, the Department of Health confirmed Thursday.
“Yes, the HK case is a Filipina domestic helper,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters.
According to Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Communicable Disease Branch of Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection, the passenger onboarded Philippine Airlines flight PR300.
“[Patient] 9003 took PR300 and arrived in Hong Kong on the 22nd of December from Philippines,” Chuang said in the special administrative region’s Information Services Department’s briefing.
“We found them in the France or Philippines returnees and this is anticipated. Clearly, we are implementing stringent measures… For example, quarantine for 21 days at designated hotels,” she added.
DOH later said the Filipino traveler was a 30-year-old woman from Cagayan Valley. She went to Metro Manila on December 18 and underwent quarantine.
UK variant-positive traveler in Hong Kong is ‘Filipina domestic helper’ – DOH
She then took a RT-PCR test for COVID-19 on December 19 and tested negative.
The domestic helper traveled to HK on December 22 and again underwent quarantine upon arrival. She was tested again for COVID-19 on January 2 and tested positive for the new variant that originated in the United Kingdom.
The Filipina is still under quarantine and is in stable condition.
Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said it is possible that domestic helper acquired the UK COVID-19 variant in Hong Kong as he maintained that the strain was not yet detected in the Philippines.
“When she left, she tested negative and I think on January 2, 10 days after she arrived in Hong Kong, she tested positive. So that’s 10 days between the time she left and the time she arrived in Hong Kong where she tested positive,” Duque said in an interview on ANC.
“You can readily just speculate it’s possible she might have contracted it there,” he added, underscoring that this theory still needs to be validated.