What are your concerns?

close
Inaccurate
Hard to understand
Other

Or copy link

New

COVID-19 Positive Woman Reportedly Violated Mandatory Quarantine to Party

COVID-19 Positive Woman Reportedly Violated Mandatory Quarantine to Party

As another year comes to a close, the shadow of COVID-19 continues to hover over the entire world. It’s been almost two years since the pandemic began and despite millions of people getting vaccinated and even getting booster shots, there is still much to be done. What could complicate things even more is that the latest COVID variant called Omicron is here and might soon become the dominant variant worldwide.

Omicron cases in the Philippines as of December 2021

The Philippine Department of Health just confirmed the fourth case of Omicron to hit our shores on December 27. The 38-year-old woman arrived from the United States via Philippine Airlines on December 10. By December 13, she had throat itchiness and colds. The woman was discharged from a government health facility on December 24 after 10 days in isolation.

Although found positive for Omicron, the woman was reported to be asymptomatic, was isolated at home, and scheduled for retesting.

What is bothering many Filipinos now are reports that the same woman cut quarantine by about several days.

However, the DILG clarified that they still need to confirm if the woman who cut mandatory quarantine to attend parties in Poblacion indeed had the Omicron variant. Results of her genome sequencing are still pending.

fourth omicron

Woman cut quarantine to party

What has gotten netizens riled up is that the she placed several people at risk after testing positive. The woman, who has been identified by reports as Gwyneth Chua, allegedly paid the quarantine facility she was staying at to let her go before the period was up. She then proceeded straight to a dinner party in the Poblacion district of Makati. Some reports say she also stopped by other gatherings that evening.

Of those she came in close contact with that evening, around 15 have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the DILG.

Prior to the pandemic, Poblacion had gained a reputation for the many cultural events hosted there. People could just walk from one venue to an adjacent one and see performance art, plays, and musical concerts. The cramped spaces have made such events less likely in Poblacion but this woman was apparently able to party there.

Why quarantine matters

Placing individuals in quarantine is a policy that has become necessary since the pandemic began. It is a means to ensure that the virus is not spread should it be proven that a person is infected. There are different quarantine periods imposed by different countries on incoming passengers.

The Philippines imposed 10-day quarantine periods for visitors during the height of the pandemic in 2020. That period has been shortened, depending on what country they are coming from. But it is still important to complete one’s quarantine period to protect the general public. Quarantine measures and travel restrictions have helped temper the spread of the virus. In recent weeks, we’ve seen cases as low as 200 or so a day. But we’re seeing this number double, quite rapidly, and so it’s so important to stay vigilant and do our part.

With the first reported case of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 coming out of South Africa in November 2021, there is still a lot to learn about this variant.

Dr. John O’Horo of the Mayo Clinic noted that Omicron is a variant of concern. “That just indicates that this is one that has a high potential to cause some continued spread and become a dominant strain. There are several other variants of concern that have been tracked, and some of them, like delta, have become significant problems,” he says.

At present, in the Philippines, the Delta variant remains the most common. It has accounted for 42.43% of 19,922 samples with lineage.

Based on a November 2021 study, population-level evidence suggests that the Omicron variant is associated with substantial ability to evade immunity from prior infection. In contrast, there had been no population-wide epidemiological evidence of immune escape associated with the Beta or Delta variants.

Omicron, Delta, and Vaccine Effectiveness

As of November, it was still premature to have empirical scientific data to comment on the infectivity of the variant and its impact on vaccines effectiveness. Because the mutations mimic some of the ones found in other variants, scientists have theorized that Omicron would likely be highly infectious and transmissible.

“The best ways to stay protected against COVID-19 remain the same things that they’ve been for most of this year. Namely, if you are vaccine-eligible, get the vaccine. If you’re booster-eligible, get the booster,” O’Horo stresses. “There’s every reason to believe that that will continue to offer protection against the current circulating strains and probably will still offer some protection against upcoming strains, as well. We just don’t know how much.

“Also, you should wear masks in appropriate settings, such as areas where other people are unmasked or you’re unsure of their vaccination status,” he reiterates. “And, finally, if you have symptoms that are concerning for COVID-19, check with your health care provider and get appropriate testing so that you don’t expose others.”

Key takeaways

With Omicron being reported as the COVID-19 variant that will likely overtake Delta in its frequency soon, people worldwide are bracing themselves for a surge in 2022.

With cases such as the of the woman who cut quarantine, it’s becoming even more clear that we all need to continue to do our part. Lapses, violations, and rule-bending for profit, all while potentially exposing the general public to COVID-19 could prove deadly. We cannot afford to be complacent. Compromising, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, could upend the progress we have made, so far, in the fight against COVID-19.

Experts still advise caution, wearing of masks, and getting vaccinated as a precautionary measure. Avoid crowds and stay indoors as much as possible.

Click here for more on coronavirus.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Philippines detects 4th Omicron variant case,

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/12/27/2150366/philippines-detects-4th-omicron-variant-case, Accessed December 30, 2021

What Mayo experts know about the omicron variant,

https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/what-is-known-about-the-omicron-variant/, Accessed December 30, 2021

Increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection associated with emergence of the Omicron variant in South Africa,

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.11.11.21266068v2?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=s7vuVAdADG0Pc_Af5hZvgL8hj3WzO1K48eVrB1.OgVc-1639497284-0-gaNycGzNCL0, Accessed December 30, 2021

DILG: 15 Test Positive For COVID-19 After Woman Cut Hotel Quarantine

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/12/30/21/dilg-15-test-positive-for-covid-19-after-woman-cut-hotel-quarantine Accessed December 31, 2021

Who Is Gwyneth Chua and Why Many Netizens Are Angry At Her? https://philnews.ph/2021/12/30/who-gwyneth-chua-why-many-netizens-angry-her/, December 30, 2021

Highly mutated SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant sparks significant concern among global experts – What is known so far?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8666662/, December 30, 2021

Picture of the authorbadge
Written by Jason Inocencio Updated Mar 10
Medically reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD