No omicron variant detected in latest genome sequencing in PH, says DOH

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 09 2021 02:26 PM | Updated as of Dec 09 2021 04:16 PM

People visit the Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City on November 19, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
People visit the Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City on November 19, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News


MANILA - The omicron variant was not detected in the country's latest genome sequencing of 48 samples, the Department of Health said Thursday.

Of the total figure, 38 or 79.17 percent were delta variant cases and the rest had "non-variant of concern lineages or had no lineages detected," the health agency said in a statement. This brings the total delta variant cases in the country to 7,886, the DOH said.

The samples, which underwent genome sequencing on Wednesday, were from 12 returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and 36 local cases from areas with high-risk average daily attack rates and case clusters, according to the DOH.

Of the 38 delta variant cases, 31 were local cases and seven were ROFs who had travel histories from Turkey and one ROF each from Jordan, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, and Peru.

The 31 local cases had address in the following regions:

  •  6 cases in Cagayan Valley
  •  5 cases in the Cordilleras
  •  3 cases in Mimaropa
  •  3 cases in Bicol
  •  3 cases in Western Visayas
  •  3 cases in SOCCSKSARGEN
  •  3 cases in Metro Manila
  •  2 cases in Central Luzon
  •  2 cases in Calabarzon
  •  1 case from Davao region

One local case remains active, while 34 have recovered and the outcomes of three patients are being verified, according to the DOH.

The samples collected from the travelers from South Africa and Burkina Faso are at the Philippine Genome Center for sequencing while the sample from the traveler from Egypt is being sent to the center, it said.

Aside from COVID-19 vaccination, the DOH reminds the public to practice minimum public health standards, such as proper wearing of face masks, hand hygiene, observance of physical distancing and proper ventilation.

Local governments are urged to continuously find active virus cases and immediately investigate clustering of cases to help stop community transmission.

The Philippines has recorded a total of 2,835,593 confirmed coronavirus infections, as of Wednesday, including 12,510 that are active. Its first case was logged on Jan. 30 last year in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where COVID-19 is believed to have first emerged.

The country temporarily banned arrivals from 15 countries, including South Africa where the omicron variant was first detected, at least until Dec. 15 as a measure against the spread of the new strain.

Early data indicates the omicron coronavirus variant may more easily reinfect people who have already had the virus or been vaccinated than previous variants, but could also cause milder disease, the WHO said Thursday.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed that more data was needed before drawing firm conclusions, and urged countries everywhere to boost their surveillance to help provide a clearer picture of how omicron is behaving.

- with a report from Agence France-Presse 


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