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DOH: Omicron variant not yet detected in Philippines

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DOH: Omicron variant not yet detected in Philippines
Residents wait for their turn to be vaccinated inside a mall in Manila City, on November 29, 2021, as the Southeast Asian nation launched a three-day vaccination drive targeting nine million people as young as 12 in an effort to accelerate the roll-out of jabs, amidst the threat of heavily mutated coronavirus variant Omicron
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has not yet detected a case of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

"Just to be clear, no detection yet of Omicron. We are still processing [the] next batch of whole genome sequences," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters.

Vergeire also said the department is gathering information on travelers who arrived in the Philippines from South Africa. Scientists in South Africa discovered the Omicron variant, which poses a "very high" global risk, according to the World Health Organization.

In a bid to keep the heavily mutated variant out, Philippine authorities suspended temporarily a decision allowing the entry of fully vaccinated tourists and banned arrivals from several nations.

The government is also conducting a three-day vaccination drive targeting nine million people to accelerate the rollout of COVID-19 jabs.

The DOH reported Wednesday 500 new COVID-19 infections, marking the eighth straight day that additional cases were below 1,000.

The agency also logged 167 new deaths and 951 additional recoveries.

Since the start of the pandemic, authorities have so far confirmed 2.83 million infections. Of the total, only 0.5% were active cases. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

COVID-19 PANDEMIC COVID-19 VARIANT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OMICRON VARIANT
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