DOH confirms local transmission of BA.2.12.1 Omicron sub-variant

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DOH confirms local transmission of BA.2.12.1 Omicron sub-variant
People walk past the entry gates of a polling station at an elementary school during the presidential election in Manila on May 9, 2022.
AFP / Chaideer Mahyuddin

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:25 p.m.) — The Department of Health confirmed Tuesday the local transmission of the BA.2.12.1 Omicron sub-variant in parts of the country. 

In a briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the local transmission of the new Omicron sub-variant is happening in Metro Manila, Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, and Western Visayas. 

“Nangangahulugan ito na ang mga kasong na-detect natin ay wala nang kaugnayan sa mga kaso na nagmula sa labas ng bansa. Pero makikita pa rin ang linkages ng mga detected cases,” Vergeire said. 

(This means that the detected BA.2.12.1 cases have no connections to imported cases. But we still see the linkages among the detected cases). 

According to the World Health Organization, local transmission “indicates locations where the source of infection is within the reporting location.”

“There is still no community transmission. We are still further verifying and analyzing with regard to this community transmission,” Vergeire said.

The health official said the agency and local government units are now responding to the local transmission of new sub-variant by ramping up detection and isolation of cases, and preparing their healthcare systems. 

The DOH also reported that three new BA.2.12.1 Omicron sub-variant cases were detected in Western Visayas—one returning overseas Filipino from the United States and two local cases. It previously announced the detection of 14 cases of the Omicron sub-variant in Metro Manila and Puerto Princesa.

Local health authorities have so far detected 17 BA.2.12.1 cases.

Vergeire said the new sub-variant is likely to be more transmissible, but its presence will not necessarily translate to a new wave in cases because of the number of vaccinated individuals in the country. There is also no evidence suggesting that BA.2.12.1 causes more severe disease.

She renewed the government’s call for the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

The DOH has recorded more than 3.68 million COVID-19 infections since the pandemic started in 2020, with 60,458 deaths.




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