Expert notes community’s role in preventing Omicron’s spread
MANILA, Philippines — The community has a role to play on how the tracing and isolation of possible close contacts and secondary contacts of the first two Omicron variant cases in the country will be done, an infectious disease expert said Thursday.
Dr. Rontgene Solante, chief of the Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine unit of the San Lazaro Hospital and a member of the Department of Science and Technology’s Vaccine Expert Panel, said all of the co-passengers of the first two cases in their flights should be isolated and tested for COVID-19.
“The crucial part here is number one, are they being contacted already? Number two, are they being instructed to isolate themselves even without the symptoms, and number three, were there also secondary contacts of these index cases so they will also be monitored?” Solante told CNN Philippines’ The Source.
“So everything should really be relying now on the community on how the contact tracing, isolation, and observation of symptoms will be done,” he added.
Solante, meanwhile, also stressed that close contacts of the index cases’ contacts who will test positive for COVID-19 should likewise be tested and isolated.
“All of those [passengers] should be tested. And another case is if they will be positive, all of those contacts because what we want to avoid now is the contact of these possible secondary contacts of these index cases in the community,” said Solante.
“Kapag nandoon na ‘yan sa community, hindi na natin alam ang (If they are already in the community, we will not know the) secondary and even tertiary contacts of these people and that’s what we don’t want to happen,” he added.
On Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that it has detected two imported cases of the Omicron variant. One is a returning Filipino who arrived from Japan on December 1 via Philippine Airlines flight number PR 0427, while the other is a Nigerian national who arrived from Nigeria on November 30 via Oman Air with flight number WY 843. They are currently isolated in a facility being managed by the Bureau of Quarantine.
The DOH said it is “determining possible close contacts among co-passengers during the flights of these two cases.” The agency also advised the co-passengers to check themselves for symptoms of COVID-19.
DOH detects Omicron variant in 2 travelers from Japan, Nigeria
DOH advises passengers of 2 flights with Omicron cases to check for symptoms
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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.
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