Philippines reports first two cases of Omicron variant

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Philippines reports first two cases of Omicron variant
People cross a street to shop in the Divisoria district of Manila on November 30, 2021.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:11 p.m.) — The Philippines reported Wednesday its first two cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which has been classified as being “of concern” by the World Health Organization.

The Department of Health said two imported cases of the Omicron variant were detected from the 48 samples sequenced Tuesday.

One of the cases is a returning overseas Filipino who arrived from Japan on December 1 via Philippine Airlines PR 0427. The DOH said the individual is currently asymptomatic but had colds and cough upon arrival.

The other case is a Nigerian national who arrived from Nigeria on November 30 via Oman Air WY 843. He is also asymptomatic.

Both are isolated in a facility managed by the Bureau of Quarantine.

The DOH said it is verifying the test results and the health status of passengers who were on the same flight as the travelers found to have the Omicron variant.

Those who arrived in the country through the aforementioned flights are advised to call the DOH COVID-19 Hotlines at (02) 8942 6843 or 1555, or their respective LGUs to report their status.

The detection of Omicron comes as authorities announced the entire country will remain under Alert Level 2 until December 31. 

Early studies suggest that Omicron, the heavily-mutated variant first detected by South Africa, can be resistant to vaccines and is more transmissible that the Delta variant. 

The spread of Omicron globally prompted the government to tighten border controls, postpone the country’s tourism reopening, and accelerate the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. 

More Delta cases 

The department also reported the detection of 33 cases of the Delta variant. This brought the total number of confirmed Delta variant cases to 7,919. 

Of the additional cases, 14 were returning overseas Filipinos. 

The rest were local cases from Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Caraga, Soccsksargen, Western Visayas, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Eastern Visayas and Davao region. — with report from Agence-France Presse

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 1, 2022 - 1:31pm

Follow this page for updates on the new COVID-19 variant, dubbed Omicron and originally detected in South Africa. Photo courtesy of the The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

September 1, 2022 - 1:31pm

The EU's drug regulator is expected to authorise the first Covid-19 vaccines for the Omicron variant, although they do not target the latest strains.

The adapted vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna will be discussed during an extraordinary meeting of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

European nations have been keen to rush through the new generation of jabs so they can start booster campaigns ahead of a feared Covid surge this winter.

The two so-called "bivalent" vaccines protect against the earlier BA.1 strain of Omicron, as well as the original Covid virus that emerged in China in 2019. — AFP

August 2, 2022 - 11:32am

The Department of Health says an emerging Omicron subvariant, BA 2.75, had been detected in two individuals from Western Visayas.

June 3, 2022 - 2:57pm

The Department of Health confirms the detection of the COVID-19 Omicron subvariant BA.5 in the Philippines.

The DOH says two individuals from the same household in Central Luzon tested posiive with the subvariant.

Both patients have unknown exposure and have no travel history.

May 13, 2022 - 1:53pm

The first cases of Omicron BA.2.12.1 COVID-19 variant have been detected in the National Capital Region and Palawan, the Department of Health says.

The first two cases in NCR have both received their booster shot and are now tagged as asymptomatic and recovered after completing home isolation.

Meanwhile, 14 tourists and 1 local tested positive in Puerto Princesa City on April 29. All cases are now asymptomatic.

May 12, 2022 - 8:43am

North Korea on Thursday confirms its first-ever case of Covid-19, with state media calling it a "severe national emergency incident" after more than two years of keeping the pandemic at bay.

The official KCNA news agency says the case was "consistent with" the virus' highly transmissible Omicron variant. — AFP

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