MANILA - The Philippines detected 10 new cases of the omicron COVID-19 variant in the country, the health department said on Friday.
The Department of Health (DOH) said, out of the 10 cases, 7 were imported while 3 were local infections.
Two of the local cases are from the Bicol Region, while one is from the National Capital Region (NCR).
The first is a 42-year-old male from the NCR who tested positive on December 3. The second local case is a 27-year-old female from Bicol who tested positive on December 14. The third local case is a 46-year-old female who's also from Bicol and tested positive on December 15.
All cases have been tagged as recovered, and Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units are tracing all their possible close contacts.
But the DOH said the epidemiological investigation on the 3 cases indicated a high possibility of local transmission of the omicron variant.
The 7 imported cases, meanwhile, include six returning Overseas Filipinos and one Malaysian national. Three of the cases arrived from the US via Philippine Airlines flight numbers PR 103 on December 15 and PR 127 on December 16. Two came from the United Kingdom via connecting flights of Emirates Airlines flight EK 332 on December 9 and Singapore Airlines flight SQ 910 on December 16.
Another case arrived from the United Arab Emirates through Philippine Airlines flight 659 on December 19, and the last imported case came from Ghana through the connecting flight of Qatar Airways flight number QR 930 on December 14.
The DOH said it was determining the health status of others who were also on those flights. Passengers on these flights are also advised to report their status through the DOH's COVID-19 Hotlines at (02) 8942 6843 or 1555, or report to their respective LGUs.
With the latest detection of cases, the Philippines has reported a total of 14 infections of the omicron variant, which is believed to be more infectious than other COVID-19 variants.
The DOH is set to provide further information regarding the new cases on Monday, January 3, 2022.
On that same day, Metro Manila is set to go under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 due to what acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles called an exponential rise in coronavirus infections in the past few days. It will stay under the heightened Alert Level until January 15.