The Department of Health (DOH) clarified on Tuesday, Jan. 11, that the Delta variant remains as the dominant coronavirus variant in the Philippines.
“Sa ngayon po, ang Delta variant pa rin ang pinakamataas na mayroon lineage sa ating bansa (Delta remains as the lineage with the most numbers in our country) comprising of about 43 percent of detections. Kasunod nito (This was followed by) 18 percent for Beta variant, 15 percent for Alpha variant, and Omicron— 43 detections— ito po ay 0.21 percent pa rin (this is only 0.21 percent),” she said.
Vergeire made the clarification after the report of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday night about the latest updates on coronavirus variants in the Philippines. She said that Duque was referring to the results of the recent batch of whole genome sequencing only—wherein the Omicron was found to be the dominant variant.
“He was explaining about the most recent run— dahil ang most recent run nakita po natin na mas madami po ang Omicron detections kumpara sa ibang mga variants na atin pong nakikita sa ating bansa (in the most recent run, we saw we had more Omicron detections compared to other variants we see in our country),” she said in a press briefing.
This was also seconded by Philippine Genome Center Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Saloma, saying that the statement of Duque must be “interpreted in context.”
“Yung sinabi sa atin ni Secretary (What the Secretary told us) should [be] interpreted in context. It was really based on the last sequencing run,” she said in a separate briefing.
“I would like to repeat na iyong ating whole genome sequencing data, iyong sinabi sa atin ni Secretary was primarily based on the 48 samples (I would like to repeat that our whole genome sequencing data, what the Secretary told us was primarily based on the 48 samples),” she added.
To note, the result of the recent whole genome sequencing was released last Jan. 2.
Despite the Delta being the dominant variant in the Philippines, Saloma said that the presence of Omicron is now really evident.
“Yung indication kasi na talagang ang Omicron is nasa palibot na natin is really this very, very fast increase of cases na almost exponential (The indication that Omicron is around us is really this very, very fast increase of cases that is almost exponential),” she said.
“On every day we are just perplexed and shocked with the increase in the number of cases and this is really very characteristic of Omicron as experienced also by other countries,” added.