Assumption was based on two Central Luzon patients, says health official
MANILA (2nd UPDATE)– The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday said the chances of the omicron BA.5 subvariant already being locally transmitted were "very high", after the strain was detected this week.
The two patients with the BA.5 subvariant from Central Luzon had no travel history except to their polling precinct in Bulacan and their work-related visit to Metro Manila, the agency said.
The pair have already recovered and are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. They had close contacts with 2 households, where 1 already tested positive for the virus.
"There are 2 individuals already dito sa komunidad na ito, at atin pong tinitingnan. We are trying to trace kung may iba na mayroong ganito," said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a public briefing.
"Kapag nagkakaroon na kasi tayo ng nadedetekta natin ng ganitong variant sa ating community, the possibility that the transmission of local is very high kasi wala silang outside the country na travel."
Video from PTV
The BA.5 subvariant is more transmissible than the BA.2 sublineage, she noted.
"Mas mabilis siya kumalat ngunit wala naman siyang evidence na nakakapag-cause siya ng more severe disease."
Meanwhile, the health official said 15 out of 17 regions in the country is already in "low risk" from "minimal risk" case classification amid the uptick in COVID-19 cases.
ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido said the country recorded 225 new cases on Friday.
Dozens of areas in the country are in the loosest of a five-tier COVID-19 alert level system, allowing business and public transport to operate at capacity.