1st BA.2.12 case in Philippines had 44 close contacts — DOH

1st BA.2.12 case in Philippines had 44 close contacts â DOH
A worker disenfects chairs at the airport in Manila on August 4, 2020.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health said Thursday it has identified 44 close contacts of the country’s first case of the Omicron BA.2.12 subvariant.

The case—a Finnish woman—had nine close contacts in Quezon City and five in Benguet, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

Authorities also identified 30 “near contacts” of the woman while aboard a flight to Manila.

“Most of them are fully vaccinated. Some of them were tested and turned out to be negative. All of them are being closely monitored and nobody is experiencing symptoms as of this time,” Vergeire said.

The case tested negative in her pre-departure test in Finland. She was allowed entry to the Philippines because she arrived asymptomatic and is fully vaccinated.

The health official said the BA.2.12 sublineage of Omicron is 2.5 times more transmissible than the original. Current evidence suggests the new Omicron sublineages do not cause more severe disease.

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

“Omicron BA.2.12 reminds us that the virus is still out there, and cases can go up the moment we let our guard down. The DOH thus implores the public to get boosted ASAP, as immunity is proven to wane over time,” the DOH said in a statement. 

OCTA Research 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 variants subvariants are not projected to “trigger a new outbreak.”

The Philippines has confirmed more than 3.68 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 60,215 deaths. — Gaea Katreena Cabico




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