No COVID-19 clusters in PH amid Omicron threat, says DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has not observed any clustering of COVID-19 cases in any part of the country that could indicate the presence of the Omicron variant, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Saturday.
“Minomonitor natin ang sitwasyon. Wala naman tayong nakikitaang mga lugar sa ating bansa na mayroong biglang pagtaas ng mga kaso or nagka-cluster ng infections, because that can be one of the determinants kung saka-sakali na nakapasok na itong Omicron variant,” Vergeire said at the Laging Handa public briefing.
(We are monitoring the situation. We have not seen any area in the country that is seeing an increase in cases or having a cluster of infections, because that can be one of the determinants of the presence of the Omicron variant.)
“If you see in other countries [with Omicron vases], nagpuputukan po ang mga kaso nila, biglang tumataas ang numero. Dito naman sa ating bansa ay hindi pa natin nakikita, so sa tingin ko po sa ngayon hindi pa po nakakapasok ang variant na ito sa ating bansa. Patuloy po nating minomonitor ‘yan,” she added.
(If you see in other countries [with Omicron cases], they are having an increase in infections. Here in the Philippines, we are not seeing that, so I think this variant has not entered our country yet. We are continuously monitoring that.)
Meanwhile, Philippine Genome Center Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Saloma said in the same briefing that authorities could not confirm the presence of the Omicron variant as long as it is not detected in genome sequencing.
“That possibility exists, but until such time na mayroon tayong whole genomic sequence hindi po namin masasabi ‘yan,” she said. “It is possible that it has entered our borders, or it may not be possible, and we are on the lookout for that.”
The Omicron variant has 50 mutations, including up to 32 mutations located in the spike protein, which experts say could indicate increased transmissibility and immune escape for the virus.
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