Omicron dominant COVID-19 variant in latest genome sequencing — DOH

Omicron dominant COVID-19 variant in latest genome sequencing â DOH
Devotees at National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at Baclaran in Parañaque City show their vaccine cards prior to entering church premises on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. Metro Manila mayors had agreed to restrict activities and movement of unvaccinated individuals as COVID-19 cases surge anew.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The hyper-transmissible Omicron variant was found to be the dominant variant in the latest genome sequencing run conducted by the government, the Department of Health said Monday.

Results of a genome sequencing run conducted on January 3 showed that 60.42% of 48 samples were positive for Omicron, while 37.5% were of the Delta variant.

"[Omicron] is already the dominant variant, whereas before it was Delta," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

The Philippines has so far detected 43 cases of the Omicron variant, which is believed to be driving the steep increase in COVID-19 infections. Meanwhile, there are 8,497 cases of the Delta variant in the country.

In an interview over state television PTV on Tuesday, Philippine Genome Center Executive Director Cynthia Saloma said more samples are included in the ongoing genome sequencing to see a better picture of the COVID-19 situation this month. 

"Based on our data, there were more Delta cases last December... But in the last sequencing run, because we really tried to focus on the returning overseas Filipinos and the National Capital Region where we experienced cases, we saw that there were more Omicron results," Saloma said in a mix of English and Filipino. 

"Whether it's reflective of the fact that Omicron is already dominant in the country, we need to have further evidence," she added. 

According to the health department, the country is at critical risk from COVID-19.

The DOH on Monday logged 33,169 additional cases, the third consecutive day that the country reported a record number of infections.

The country has registered nearly three million infections since the pandemic began. Of the figure, 157,526 are active cases. — Gaea Katreena Cabico




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