MANILA — All four patients with omicron infection in the Philippines have showed mild symptoms of the disease so far, the Department of Health said Tuesday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said authorities have yet to discover other characteristics of the highly transmissible COVID-19 variant.
"What we have seen is that those with omicron variant showed milder symptoms. But of course, it's not conclusive because these are just four individuals we are currently observing," she told ANC's "Headstart".
Vergeire said two patients experienced colds, cough and itchy throat but were resolved after two to three days. The other two patients were asymptomatic.
The Philippines announced its first two omicron cases on Dec. 15 from a returning Filipino from Japan and a Nigerian national.
Barely a week later, it reported its third Omicron case in a returning Filipino from Qatar.
The country's latest detection of omicron infection came from a Filipina who came from the United States. Her husband has also tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Department of Health.
A sample from the husband will be processed for sequencing to identify the coronavirus variant. Their household members are isolated and will also be tested, Vergeire said.
According to health authorities, omicron is far more contagious than previous variants of COVID-19 but appears to cause a less severe illness than its predecessors.
Omicron is spreading faster than any variant before it, with cases in some countries doubling every two to three days.
It has already overtaken delta as the dominant strain in Denmark and the UK, where the number of new cases daily has topped 100,000. It is likely to become dominant in other countries soon.
The Philippines has so far logged over 2.8 million COVID-19 cases, with 51,211 fatalities.
As of Dec. 27, the country has administered over 106 million COVID-19 shots. Some 56.9 million people have received first dose while 47.8 million others are fully vaccinated.
—With a report from Agence France-Presse