MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has detected 492 additional cases of the more transmissible Omicron COVID-19 variant, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
In an update, the DOH said the new cases of Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant were detected in the latest batch of whole genome sequencing done last January 13 to 14, 2022 by the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
The DOH said that the 492 Omicron variant cases are composed of 332 local cases and 160 returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).
Of the 332 local cases, the indicated addresses of the cases were from the following areas:
- National Capital Region with 227 cases
- CALABARZON with 76 cases
- Central Luzon with 11 cases
- Central Visayas with 5 cases
- Cagayan Valley with 2 cases
- Western Visayas, with 2 cases
- Davao Region with 2 cases
- Soccsksargen with 2 cases
- Cordillera Administrative Region with 2 cases
- Ilocos Region with 1 case
- MIMAROPA with 1 case
- Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with 1 case
“Based on the case line list, three cases are still active, two cases have died, 467 cases have been tagged as recovered, while there are 20 cases whose outcomes are still being verified,” the DOH said.
This update brings the total number of confirmed Omicron variant cases in the country to 535.
Aside from Omicron variant cases, health authorities also detected 115 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases, and one Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant case in the 714 samples recently sequenced.
Of the additional 115 Delta variant cases, the DOH said 88 were local cases and 27 were ROFs.
Based on the case line list, two cases are still active, two have died, 107 have been tagged as recovered, while there are four cases whose outcomes are still being verified, it added.
This brings the total number of confirmed Delta variant cases in the Philippines to 8,612.
Meanwhile, the local Alpha variant case has been tagged as recovered.
The total number of Alpha variant cases is now 3,170, the DOH said.
With the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the DOH once again urged the public to follow protective health protocols and adhere to minimum public health standards.
“New protocols based on science and data such as shortened intervals for booster shots, childhood vaccination, shortened quarantine/isolation periods for fully vaccinated HCWs without symptoms, and targeted testing among others were put in place to mitigate the risks of the Omicron variant,” the agency said.
“The public is strongly encouraged to comply to ensure the safety and protection of the entire community,” it added.
The DOH also renewed its call for all eligible individuals, especially senior citizens, those with comorbidities, and children, to complete their primary series of vaccines and get boosted as these are safe, effective, and free.
“Getting vaccinated is still our best line of defense when it comes to fighting and preventing severe and critical disease. Regardless of the variant, we must always keep our guards up against the enemy that is COVID-19,” it added.