BORACAY, Malay–There is no evidence of a new coronavirus variant in Boracay even as local transmissions continue to surge on the island.
“We can’t say that a new coronavirus variant has been detected (here), and we hope none will emerge,” Malay Municipal Health Officer Dr. Athena Magdamit said in a radio interview, adding that the Philippine Genome Center routinely conducts a study on swab samples from patients who tested positive for COVID-19.
Malay, Aklan, has a total of 165 coronavirus cases on record as of April 6, 2021, and this includes 81 active cases and one death.
Manocmanoc logs the highest number of cases so far with 38 while Balabag has 35 people infected with the virus as of Tuesday.
The COVID-positive patients are now in isolation in various places, including Argao and Caticlan in mainland Malay, at Marzon Hotel and the Aklan training center in Kalibo, Aklan, and in privately-owned houses in Boracay Island.
On April 1, Balabag was placed under enhanced community quarantine while two zones in Manocmanoc were placed under surgical lockdown, both lasting until April 14.
The Municipal Health Office, along with the police, continues to issue the oft-repeated reminders for people to strictly observe minimum health protocols, which include the wearing of face masks and face shields and abiding by social distancing rules to minimize the spread of the virus.
The latest escalation of COVID-19 cases is largely blamed on a “super-spreader” party hosted on March 10 by a man on vacation from the National Capital Region. When it was learned that the man had tested positive for the virus three days after his return to Metro Manila, health authorities in Boracay immediately conducted a comprehensive contact tracing investigation that would shortly show the extent of the transmission.
“May pattern ang pag-spread ng virus. Halos lahat nang may COVID-19 (ngayon) konektado sa nasabing party [The spread of the virus had a pattern. Almost all who are (now) positive for COVID-19 had some form of connection to the party],” Magdamit added.
The Malay municipal police station for its part is investigating possible violations of health guidelines and restrictions by the establishments where parties were held in the last two weeks.
“The likelihood of being exposed to a virus at a well-attended party in a place with poor ventilation is very high, but especially so in a time of a pandemic,” Magdamit cautioned. (Boy Ryan Zabal/iNEWS-Aklan/Boracay Bureau)