DOH: Over 1,000 new cases, 3 deaths from omicron subvariants

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2022 04:10 PM | Updated as of Aug 16 2022 07:24 PM

Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron virus particles (orange) replicating within the cytoplasm of an infected CCL-81 cell (blue). Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID
Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron virus particles (orange) replicating within the cytoplasm of an infected CCL-81 cell (blue). Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippines has detected over 1,000 additional cases of highly transmissible omicron subvariants BA.5 and BA.4, the Department of Health said Tuesday.

The DOH found 1,011 additional cases of the omicron BA.5 and 19 more cases of the BA.4, government data showed. 

The latest figures, result of a sequencing run conducted from Aug. 12 to 15, brought the country's total to 5,214 BA.5 cases and 168 BA.4 cases. 

Of the new BA.5 cases, some 907 have recovered, while 53 are undergoing isolation, and the status of 49 patients is being verified. Two have died from the said variant, according to the DOH data.

Meanwhile, 15 patients of the BA.4 cases have recovered, 3 are in quarantine and 1 succumbed to the disease.

Courtesy of DOH
Courtesy of DOH

Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire disclosed that the DOH has allotted budget for the procurement of modified COVID-19 vaccines that target the omicron variant and the original form of the virus.

"We have reserved some budget for us to procure this kind of vaccines if and when lumabas na siya para sa entire population," she said in a press briefing.

Deliveries of the new generation vaccines in the US are expected to begin in October. It may take time before the Philippines gets access to the vaccines, which will undergo regulatory review, Vergeire said.

The omicron offshoots BA.4 and BA.5 have partly driven a wave of new cases of the disease in parts of the world.

They were first discovered in South Africa and spread rapidly despite high population immunity conferred by prior waves and vaccinations.

Like other omicron subvariants, they tend to have a milder disease course as they settle less in the lungs and more in the upper nasal passages, causing symptoms such as fever, tiredness and loss of smell.

Courtesy of DOH
Courtesy of DOH

In the past week, the Philippines tallied 28,008 fresh coronavirus infections.

From Aug. 1 to 7, the country recorded an average of 4,001 infections per day, up 3 percent compared to the previous week.

To date, some 72.1 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Of the tally, more than 17 million have received their additional jab while 1.8 million have gotten their second booster shots.

— With a report from Agence France-Presse

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