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800 new Omicron cases detected in Philippines

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
800 new Omicron cases detected in Philippines
Face mask-clad pedestrians cross a road in Manila on September 12, 2022. The Philippines on September 12 lifted a requirement for masks to be worn outdoors, more than two years after imposing the ruling as part of health measures against the COVID-19 coronavirus.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — Over 800 new cases of Omicron subvariant of COVID have been detected in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) reported yesterday.

Recent genome sequencing results showed there were 839 new cases of BA.5, 11 BA.4 and one each of BA.2.75 and BA.2.12.1.

The BA.5 cases were detected nationwide, including in eight returning overseas Filipinos (ROF).

The BA.4 cases were detected in Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos) with seven; Bicol, two and one each in Metro Manila and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon).

The lone new BA.2.75 case was detected in the National Capital Region. The BA.2.12.1 case was detected in an ROF. The additional Omicron subvariant cases were detected from the 978 samples that were subjected to genome sequencing from Sept. 9 to 12.

Meanwhile, redefining fully vaccinated is not a priority of the government as it is focused on increasing the booster uptake for the population.

The DOH said being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 would still mean having two doses of the primary vaccine series.

President Marcos disapproved a proposal of the DOH to include the first booster shot for one to be considered fully vaccinated.

“We have recommended this to the President. He advised against it because it would cause more confusion, especially now that more policies are being promulgated,” DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said yesterday.

Under the DOH’s proposal, a person will only be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if he has received the primary vaccine series and a booster shot.

The proposal came as the government continues to exert effort to increase the booster dose coverage.

Instead of redefining “fully vaccinated,” Vergeire said Marcos directed the DOH to focus on intensifying the booster shot rollout.

Vergeire said the DOH has asked the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to help in encouraging the public to get their booster shots.

She said the Department of Tourism might require tourists to present vaccination cards showing they received booster shots before they will be allowed entry in tourist spots.

Vergeire has asked the Department of Transportation to give additional perks to passengers who have received the booster shots.

She said she would ask the Department of Labor and Employment to possibly allow workers to get booster shots during working hours during the upcoming National Vaccination Week.

COVID-19

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