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DOH logs 618 more Omicron infections; 'Stealth' sub-lineage more common in latest run

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
DOH logs 618 more Omicron infections; 'Stealth' sub-lineage more common in latest run
Signage that reads "No Vaccine No Ride" (L) is seen on the windshield of a passenger jeepney in Quezon City, suburban Manila on January 17, 2022, as the Philippine government banned unvaccinated people from using public transport amid a record surge in coronavirus cases.
AFP / Jam Sta. Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health reported Thursday 618 additional cases of the hyper-contagious Omicron variant, bringing the total to 1,153.

Out of the 677 samples sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center recently, 91% were found to have the Omicron variant.

According to the DOH, the majority of Omicron cases in the latest batch had the “stealth” sub-lineage of Omicron or BA.2. It was first detected in the Philippines on December 31, 2021.

The department said that BA.2 and the other sub-lineage called BA.1 had “no significant difference” in terms of transmissibility or severity of disease. 

The United Kingdom Health Security Agency designated the BA.2 sub-lineage as a variant under investigation as cases of it were on the rise in the country.

“The DOH shall continue to investigate why BA.2 has become more prevalent than BA.1 but so far the detection of BA.2 does not entail any significant change in the COVID-19 response,” the agency said.

Of the newly-detected Omicron cases, 497 were locals and 121 were returning overseas Filipinos.

The local cases had indicated addresses in the following areas:

  • Metro Manila – 238 cases
  • Calabarzon – 71 cases
  • Ilocos region – 30 cases
  • Western Visayas – 30 cases
  • Eastern Visayas – 28 cases
  • Central Luzon – 27 cases
  • Central Visayas – 20 cases
  • Cagayan Valley – 19 cases
  • Cordillera Administrative Region – 13 cases
  • Davao region – 10 cases
  • Soccsksargen – 6 cases
  • Bicol region – 2 cases
  • Mimaropa – 2 cases
  • Northern Mindanao – 1 case

Thirteen of the cases are still active, two have died, and 560 cases have recovered. The DOH is still validating the outcomes of 43 other cases.

Of the total confirmed Omicron cases, five have died.

The Omicron variant spurred a surge in the Philippines this month, with COVID-19 cases reaching unprecedented highs.

More Delta cases

Health authorities also detected 35 more Delta variant cases, raising the number of confirmed Delta cases to 8,647.

Of the additional Delta cases, 26 were locals and nine were returning overseas Filipinos.

“Based on the case line list, one case has died, 30 have been tagged as recovered, while there are four cases whose outcomes are still being verified,” the DOH said.

The Philippines has reported 3.47 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started. There are currently 230,410 active cases.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

OMICRON VARIANT

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