DOH: No Omicron variant yet in PH

Published December 9, 2021, 1:51 PM

by Analou de Vera


The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday, Dec. 9, said there is still no Omicron coronavirus variant case detected in the Philippines.

“The Department of Health, the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) today report that no Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of concern case (VOC) was detected from the 48 samples sequenced yesterday, Dec. 8,” the DOH said in a statement.

Of the 48 positive samples that were sequenced, 38 were found to be Delta variant cases, while “the rest had non-VOC lineages or had no lineages detected, the DOH said.

“The latest sequencing run was composed of 12 Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and 36 local cases from areas with high-risk average daily attack rates and case clusters,” the DOH said.

The DOH noted that of the newly detected Delta variant cases, 31 were local cases and seven were ROFs.

Of the 31 local cases, six cases had indicated addresses in Cagayan Valley, while five cases were from the Cordillera Administrative Region, three cases each from Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Soccsksargen, and the National Capital Region; two cases each from Central Luzon and Calabarzon; and one case from Davao Region.

Meanwhile two of the ROFs had travel histories from Turkey, while the others had travel history from Jordan, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, and Peru.

“Based on the case line list, one local case is still active, 27 local and all seven ROF cases have been tagged as recovered, and three local cases are currently being verified as to their outcomes. All other details are being validated by the regional and local health offices,” the DOH said.

The new cases brought the total number of Delta variant cases in the Philippines to 7,886, the DOH said.

“Additional ROF cases and local cases from areas with case increases or clustering will be prioritized for sequencing once these samples have been received by UP-PGC. The DOH is currently coordinating with COVID-19 testing laboratories to expedite transport of these samples,” the DOH said.

Amid the threat of the Omicron variant, the DOH reminded the public that “the best defense against COVID-19 and its variants is by adhering to the minimum public health standards.”

“Everyone should continue to properly wear a face mask, wash their hands often, observe physical distancing, and ensure proper ventilation,” it said.

“Moreover, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 helps prevent severe disease and death. LGUs are urged to continuously conduct active case finding and immediately investigate clustering of cases to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the communities,” it added.