All 15 samples collected from foreign tourists who recently visited the Tubbataha marine park in Cagayancillo town will be sent to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) for genome sequencing and categorized as “urgent”, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

According to DOH USec. Maria Rosario Vergeire, what happened was an isolated instance, and the type of variant with which the visitors were contaminated is yet unknown.

The health department confirmed 15 foreign tourists who visited Palawan to see Tubbataha Reef tested positive for COVID-19 in a statement released on May 3. It said all of those who tested positive were isolated — 13 were asymptomatic, and two had mild symptoms with onset dates ranging from April 27 to 28.

READ RELATED STORY: New concerns raised as foreign tourists bound for Tubbataha test positive for COVID-19

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It also said 14 of them were placed in facilities and one was admitted to a hospital.

“As of the moment, the DOH through the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) and the CESU are still verifying the situation and will update once more information is available,” the DOH said.

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