A total of 618 new Omicron coronavirus variant cases have been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Thursday, Jan. 27.
The DOH noted that the majority of the new cases were composed of the BA.2 sublineage or the “stealth Omicron.”
“Both the original Omicron lineage, B.1.1.529, and its sub-lineages, BA.1 and BA.2, have been detected in the country. The earliest detection of the BA.2 sub-lineage was on Dec. 31, 2021 and was found to be the majority of Omicron cases in the latest batch,” the DOH said in a statement on Thursday, Jan. 27.
The latest whole genome sequencing run involved 677 COVID-19 positive samples.
Data collected by the DOH, University of the Philippines– Philippine Genome Center, and National Institutes of Health “showed that there is no significant difference in BA.1 and BA.2 characteristics in terms of transmissibility or severity of disease,” the DOH said.
“The DOH shall continue to investigate why BA.2 has become more prevalent than BA.1 but so far the detection of BA.2 does not entail any significant change in the COVID-19 response,” it added.
Of the newly detected Omicron cases, 497 were local while 121 were returning overseas Filipinos.
Of the local cases, 238 have indicated addresses in Metro Manila, 71 in Calabarzon, 30 cases each from Ilocos Region and Western Visayas, 28 in Eastern Visayas, 27 in Central Luzon, 20 in Central Visayas, 19 in Cagayan Valley, 13 in Cordillera Administrative Region, 10 in Davao Region, six in Soccsksargen, two cases each from Bicol Region and Mimaropa, and one case from Northern Mindanao.
“Based on the case line list, 13 cases are still active, two cases have died, 560 cases have been tagged as recovered, while there are 43 cases whose outcomes are still being verified,” the DOH said.
At present, the total number of confirmed Omicron variant cases in the country stood at 1,153, including five deaths.
The DOH also reported 35 new Delta variant cases, wherein 26 were local and nine were returning overseas Filipinos.
“Based on the case line list, one case has died, 30 have been tagged as recovered, while there are four cases whose outcomes are still being verified,” it said.
The total number of confirmed Delta variant cases is now 8,647.
Follow protocols, get vaccinated
The DOH once again reminded the public to strictly follow the health protocols to avoid contracting COVID-19.
“While studies are still underway on the possible effects of the identified ‘Stealth Omicron’ on current case trends, the Department of Health reminds the public that regardless of the variant, we must seek safety and protection to further prevent virus transmission and mutation. New protocols were put in place as a preventive measure to mitigate the risks of the different variants of the virus,” it said.
All eligible Filipinos were also urged to immediately complete their vaccine doses.
“The Department urges the public to complete their primary series of vaccines and boosters, especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus such as the elderly, the young, and the sick,” the DOH said.
“The vaccines provided by the government are proven to be safe and effective in preventing hospitalization, even death caused by severe and critical symptoms. Nevertheless, we must always be vigilant and alert in our response to curb the COVID-19 pandemic,” it added.