Philippines detects 910 more cases of highly transmissible omicron subvariants

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2022 02:34 PM | Updated as of Jul 20 2022 05:36 PM

Pedestrians walk at a crossing in Makati City on July 12, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Pedestrians walk at a crossing in Makati City on July 12, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippines has detected 910 more cases of highly transmissible omicron subvariants BA.5, BA.4, and BA.2.12.1, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

Government found an additional 816 cases of the omicron BA.5, 52 new cases of the BA2.12.1, and 42 more cases of the BA.4, according to Health officer-in-charge and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The latest figures raise the country's total to 1,108 BA.5 cases, 139 BA.2.12.1 cases, and 54 BA.4 cases, Vergeire said.

All regions except Bangsamoro have logged a case of the omicron BA.5, Vergeire said. Twelve of the additional BA.5 cases were returning Filipinos, she added.

Of the 816 newly reported BA.5 cases, 686 have recovered, 78 were still under isolation while the status of the remaining 52 was still being verified, Vergeire said.

A total of 560 were fully vaccinated, while the inoculation status of the remaining 256 was still being verified, she added.

Meanwhile, out of the additional 52 BA.2.12.1 cases, 49 have recovered and the condition of the remaining 3 was still being verified, according to Vergeire.

Twenty-six of the patients were fully vaccinated, 5 were partially inoculated, and the vaccination status of the remaining 21 was being verified, Vergeire said.

Four of the BA.2.12.1 cases were returning Filipinos, while the rest were from Metro Manila, Cordilleras, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao region, and Caraga, she added.

A total of 42 more BA.4 cases were also reported, of which 36 have recovered, 5 remain under isolation, while the status of the remaining patient was being verified, according to the DOH OIC.

Thirty-one of the patients were fully inoculated while the vaccination status of the remaining 11 was being verified, Vergeire said.

Three of the BA.4 cases were returning Filipinos, while the rest came from Metro Manila, Soccksargen, Davao, Western Visayas, Bicol region, Calabarzon, Cordilleras, and Bangsamoro, she added.

The exposure and travel histories of all patients have yet to be identified, Vergeire said.

The country recorded 14,640 new COVID-19 cases in the previous week, reflecting about a 40-percent increase from a week before, data from the health department showed Monday.

The DOH earlier said tightening border controls was not necessary in preventing new omicron subvariants BA.2.75 and BA.5.2.1.

The entry of BA.5, BA.4, and BA.2.12.1 is a factor in the country's continuously rising virus infections, Vergeire said. 

Aside from this, the public's increased mobility, waning immunity, and lessened compliance to health standards also contribute to the rise in cases, Vergeire added.

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PH STILL 'LOW RISK' 

The Philippines remains "low risk" for coronavirus infections despite tallying an average of 2,259 daily new COVID-19 cases in the previous 7 days, according to the DOH OIC.

This is because the nationwide healthcare utilization remains at a "low risk" 24 percent for total beds and 18 percent for intensive care unit occupancy, Vergeire said.

Metro Manila logged an average of 900 cases per day from July 13 to 19, while its neighboring provinces (NCR Plus) and the rest of Luzon tallied "less than 550 cases," Vergeire added.

Mindanao logged a slight increase and has reached more than 100 daily new cases, while Visayas is showing a "plateau" in cases, according to Vergeire.

The national COVID-19 positivity rate has increased to 12.1 percent from 9.8 percent in the previous week, she said. 

"Kahit na tuloy-tuloy ang pagtaas ng mga kaso, nationally and all of our regional areas are at low risk case classification na may nanatiling less than 6 cases per 100,000 population," she said.

(Even as cases continued to rise, nationally and all of our regional areas are at low risk case classification with less than 6 cases per 100,000 population.)