DOH reports 618 Omicron cases; stealth sub-lineage found as early as Dec. 31
MANILA, Philippines — Health authorities have detected 618 Omicron variant cases in the latest whole-genome sequencing run, mainly composed of the BA.2 sub-lineage or the “stealth Omicron.”
According to the Department of Health (DOH), the additional Omicron variant cases composed 91.29 percent of all 677 samples sequenced.
“Both the original Omicron lineage, B.1.1.529, and its sub-lineages, BA.1 and BA.2, have been detected in the country. The earliest detection of the BA.2 sub-lineage was on December 31, 2021, and was found to be the majority of Omicron cases in the latest batch,” the DOH said in a statement.
According to DOH, data gathered by the health department and the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center and National Institutes of Health showed that “there is no significant difference in BA.1 and BA.2 characteristics in terms of transmissibility or severity of the disease.”
The DOH said it would continue to investigate why BA.2 has become more prevalent than BA.1 but noted that so far, the detection of BA.2 does not require a significant change in the COVID-19 response.
The additional Omicron variant cases were composed of 497 local cases and 121 returning overseas Filipinos.
Metro Manila has 238 local cases; Calabarzon, 71 cases, Ilocos Region and Western Visayas, 30 cases each; Eastern Visayas, 28; Central Luzon, 27; Central Visayas, 20; Cagayan Valley, 19, Cordillera Administrative Region, 13; Davao Region, 10, Soccsksargen, six; Bicol Region and Mimaropa with two cases each; and Northern Mindanao with one case.
The DOH said 13 of the additional Omicron variant cases are still active, two have died, and 560 have recovered. The status of 43 other cases is still being verified.
In total, five carriers of Omicron have died among 1,153 total cases of the variant.
Meanwhile, the DOH also recorded another 35 Delta variant cases from the latest sequencing. Twenty-six are local cases and nine are returning overseas Filipinos.
Of the additional Delta cases, one has died and 30 were tagged as recovered. The status of four other cases is still being verified.
The total number of confirmed Delta variant cases is now 8,647.
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