MANILA — The Philippines has detected an additional case of BQ.1, bringing its tally of the highly transmissible omicron subvariant to 17, latest data from the Department of Health showed.
The local BQ.1 case was found in Western Visayas, according to the DOH's latest COVID-19 bio-surveillance report.
The BQ.1, a sublineage of omicron BA.5, is considered a variant of interest by the European Center for Disease Control.
Believed to be more contagious and immune-evasive, the BQ.1 is driving up coronavirus infections in the US, UK, and parts of Europe.
The country also detected 115 new cases of omicron subvariants, which include the BQ.1 case.
Of the figure, 64 were BA.2.3.20, 42 were XBB, 2 were BA.5, and 6 tagged as other omicron sublineages.
Health authorities also found 2 new cases of XBC, a recombinant of delta and omicron.
These are results of the latest sequencing run conducted by University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center from Nov. 28 to Dec. 3, the DOH said.
The additional BA.2.3.20 cases consisted of 1 returning overseas Filipino and 64 local cases from Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 6, 7, and BARMM.
Meanwhile, the 2 BA.5 cases, including a case classified as BQ.1, were local cases from Region 6.
All 42 XBB cases were local cases from Western Visayas and Calabarzon.
Meanwhile, the 2 additional XBC cases were local cases coming from Region 6.
From Nov. 28 to Dec. 4, the Philippines recorded 7,731 additional COVID-19 cases, which is 4 percent lower compared to the previous week.
As of Dec. 5, the country has 17,907 active COVID-19 cases.