Omicron now predominant COVID-19 variant in PH: health dept

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2022 05:01 PM

People wearing face masks as a precaution against COVID-19 fall in line at the Monumento bus stop in Caloocan on January 3, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People wearing face masks as a precaution against COVID-19 fall in line at the Monumento bus stop in Caloocan on January 3, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The omicron variant is now the predominant COVID-19 lineage in the Philippines, the Department of Health said Tuesday.

The country has detected both of omicron's sub lineages, BA.1 and BA.2, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

"Maituturing na pong predominant variant ang omicron sa National Capital Region at sa iba pang bahagi ng ating bansa dahil sa tumataas nitong bilang ng naitatalang kaso same with the trends, characteristics of the omicron variant," she told reporters.

(We can now consider the omicron as the predominant variant in National Capital Region and other regions because the increase in cases is the same with trends, characteristics of the omicron variant.)

"Mula sa dating 1.30 percent na nakuhang omicron samples nung Nobyembre, tumaas na po ito sa 98.9 percent ngayong Enero."

(From the 1.30 percent omicron samples we detected in November, it has increased to 98.9 percent this January.)

BA.1 is more common among returning Filipinos and cases in Bicol region, while BA.2 is more common in local cases in other regions, Vergeire said.

"Walang nakitang significant difference sa clinical presentation and BA.1 and BA.2," she said.

(There is no significant difference in the clinical presentation of BA.1 and BA.2)

Virus cases, positivity rates, and healthcare utilization rates continue to rise in areas outside Metro Manila and neighboring provinces due to the highly transmissible omicron and delta variants, Vergeire added.

The public is reminded to observe minimum public health standards such as proper handwashing following a study that found omicron stays longer on plastic surfaces and human skin, according to Vergeire.

"As long as you do your protective measures like you shower after you go home, change your clothes once you go out, tapos syempre lagi naghuhugas ng kamay, lagi nakamask (and of course always wash your hands and wear face masks)," she said.

"We don’t need to add some more to the fears we have right now but instead focus on what we can do...Maglinis, mag-disinfect palagi at lagi gagawin ang paghuhugas at protekta sa ating katawan by doing these hygienic measures."

(Always clean and disinfect, wash and protect your body) by doing these hygienic measures.)

The critical intervention is to "make sure our hands are clean, said pediatrician Dr. Anna Ong-Lim.

"Kahit gaano pa katagal mabuhay yng virus sa isang surface, for so long as malinis ang kamay natin at di natin ikukuskos sa ilong, bibig at mata natin, wala siyang paraan para tumalon, para pumasok sa katawan natin," she said.

(No matter how long the virus can survive on a surface, for so long as our hands are clean and we won't rub it in our nose, mouth, and eyes, it has no way to enter our body.)

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