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Omicron subvariant BA.2.12 detected in Baguio, not a 'variant of concern'

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Omicron subvariant BA.2.12 detected in Baguio, not a 'variant of concern'
A police officer checks the travel permit of a driver along Kennon Road in August 2020.
The STAR / Andy Zapata Jr., file

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has detected its first case of Omicron’s new subvariant, BA.2.12, the Department of Health reported Wednesday.

The case was a 52-year-old Finnish woman who arrived from Finland last April 2.

BA.2.12 is a sublineage of the currently circulating Omicron variant that has been flagged by the United States Center for Disease Control following a spike in COVID-19 cases in the US.

However, at present, BA.2.12 is neither classified a variant of interest nor a variant of concern by the World Health Organization.

The DOH noted that preliminary data show that the mutations of new Omicron sublineages are associated with higher transmissibility.

“However, there is currently no evidence that these sublineages cause more disease,” it said.

Visits to Quezon City, Baguio

The DOH, through its Center for Health Development in the Cordillera Administrative Region, detected the country’s first BA.2.12 case.

The Finnish woman was not required to undergo isolation at a quarantine facility because she arrived asymptomatic and was fully vaccinated, according to the DOH. She traveled to a university in Quezon City and then to Baguio City to conduct seminars.

Nine days after her arrival in the Philippines, the woman experienced mild symptoms such as headache and sore throat.

Local health authorities performed contact tracing after she tested positive. Nine asymptomatic close contacts were identified. Two were tested and found to be negative for COVID-19. ‘

The woman returned to Finland on April 21 after finishing her seven-day isolation.

“The public can avoid all variants, whether new or currently circulating, by continuing to wear the best-fitting mask, isolate when sick, double up protection through vaccination and boosters, and ensure good airflow,” the DOH said.

OCTA Research fellow earlier said the entry of new Omicron subvariants may bring 5,000 to 10,000 cases a day. The research firm, however, said the new Omicron subvariants are not projected to “trigger a new outbreak.”

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

OMICRON VARIANT

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