DOH in talks with WHO over Omicron sub-variant
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health is coordinating with the World Health Organization regarding the sub-variant of the more infectious Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday said that the BA.2, or the Omicron sub-variant, is a variant under investigation (VUI).
“Sa ngayon, alam ninyo, ang estado ng BA.2, itong bago na namang variant ano, but andu’n sa lineage ng Omicron, BA.1, ang kanyang kategorya ay variant under investigation, hindi pa siya variant of concern,” Duque said during the Laging Handa briefing.
(As of now, you know, the status of the BA.2, the new variant under the lineage of Omicron or BA.1, the category is a variant under investigation, not yet a variant of concern.)
“So, VUI siya at ang ating [Epidemiology Bureau] ay patuloy na nakikipag-ugnayan sa mga kinatawan ng World Health Organization. ‘Yung country office natin, binibigyan tayo ng pinakahuling datos patungkol sa mga katangian ng bagong variant na ito,” he continued.
(So, it is a VUI and our Epidemiology Bureau is continuously coordinating with the World Health Organization. Our country office is giving the latest data regarding this variant.)
Based on limited data, BA.2 is more transmissible than Omicron, Duque said. He reiterated that COVID-19 vaccines are effective to prevent severe and critical cases, even deaths.
“Pero, so far, ang limitadong datos nagpapakita hindi naman ito parang naiiba talaga sa Omicron variant,” he said.
(But, so far, limited data shows that it is not that different from the Omicron variant.)
“Kung mayroon man, sabi mas matulin daw itong makahawa, pero pagdating sa dalawang aspeto ng pagtugon, ang bakuna (If there are differences, it is said to be more infectious, but in response, the vaccine) continues to be effective against severe critical cases, therefore, preventing hospitalizations and deaths,” the health official explained.
Duque likewise urged to keep complying with minimum public health standards to contain COVID-19 infections.
“’Wag tayong tutulad sa mga ibang bansa na nag-deklara ng walang ng mask mandate, pwede nang magbukas, niluwagan ang restrictions, baka sumipa ulit. Sayang naman ‘yung atin nang mga nakamit na mga tagumpay baka mabalewala ay ‘wag naman sana magiging ganu’n,” he said.
(Let us not do what other countries did, they lifted the mask mandate, restrictions were relaxed, cases may jump again. Our efforts will be put to waste if that’s the case.)
The country posted 29,828 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, driving the overall case count to 3,417,216.
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