Of the 16 confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 variant, three have been confirmed as minors residing in Bontoc, Mountain Province.
This was revealed at the press conference held by the Department of Health on January 23, 2021.
“We have cases as young as 5 and 10 years (old),” Dr. Thea de Guzman of DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau said, adding that one other patient is below 18 years old.
Reportr said 12 of the 16 cases are from the northern Luzon province. Apart from the three minors, three are elderly.
The new variant, B.1.1.7., was first reported in the United Kingdom in December. While the new coronavirus variant in the Philippines is being reported just now, government officials now say it could have been present in the Philippines back in December as well.
According to reportr, the new variant of COVID-19 was detected from one of 16 newly confirmed cases on December 10, four days before the UK confirmed the existence of the B.1.1.7. variant. How did this happen? Read here reportr’s explainer.
We’ve heard a couple of people tell us to be very afraid of this new variant because it is fatal once you have it. The evidence does not support this, as of this wiriting.
However, while B.1.1.7 is not necessarily dangerous, it is considered more contagious, including among children.
The New York Times reported on the Public Health England (PHE) research. It looked at a detailed contract-tracing of 20,000 people who had the new variant, which involved 3,000 kids age 9 below.
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Unlike the COVID-19 we know, the research showed the new variant “is more easily spread among children, as it is among adults.” (Read more here).
Last week, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) relaxed the rules for kids 10 to 14, allowing them to leave their homes starting February 1 if accompanied by parents.
According to CNN, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said she might recommend that the IATF reconsider this earlier decision for kids.
Meanwhile, DOH urged Filipinos to be strict and continue following health protocols.
"Talagang madaming pasaway, hindi sumusunod sa mga tamang pagusot ng mga face mask face shield, physical distancing," says Health Secretary Francisco Duque.