The Department of Health (DOH) said it is “too early to say” if there is already local transmission of Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 in the Philippines despite the two recorded local cases in Metro Manila.
“It’s too early for us to say that there is local transmission. Kailangan natin ng enough evidence para maipakita natin at maanalyze natin kung talagang meron na tayong local transmission (We need enough evidence to show and analyze if we really have local transmission),” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Saturday, May 14.
The DOH said that the two local cases from Metro Manila had no international travel history.
“We’re trying to do surveillance to trace the source of infection,” said Vergeire.
On Friday, the DOH announced 14 cases of the new Omicron subvarian. Aside from the two local cases in Metro Manila, the DOH also reported 12 cases of the said variant in Puerto Princesa, Palawan— involving foreign nationals.
Vergeire said that there is a possibility that there are other cases of Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 in the country.
“Now yung possibility na meron pang ibang kaso ng BA.2.12.1 dito sa ating bansa, nandyan ang posibilidad dahil hindi naman natin nasesquence lahat ng positive samples na meron tayo (Now the possibility that there are other cases of BA.2.12.1 here in our country, there is that possibility because we are not sequencing all the positive samples that we have),” she said.
The detection of this new variant should not be a cause for alarm but Vergeire reminded the public to strictly follow the safety protocols.
“Unang-una ayaw natin ialarma ang mga tao. Ang gusto natin patuloy tayong mag-ingat (First of all, we don’t want to alarm people. What we want is for us to continue to be careful). We are all aware that there is this variant circulating here in the country,” said Vergeire.
“Receive your boosters if you are eligible, so you can get adequate protection and palaging gumamit ng mask (always use a mask), do the safety protocol,” she added.