COVID-19 XBB subvariant entry to PH possible amid opened borders – expert
MANILA, Philippines — The “highly immune-evasive” XBB Omicron subvariant could possibly enter the Philippines amid the country’s opened borders, an infectious disease expert warned Friday.
“There is a possibility that it can enter the Philippines because our borders are open now and we have flights to Singapore everyday,” Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of the Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine unit at the San Lazaro Hospital, said over ABS-CBN News Channel.
“It’s just a matter of really monitoring this,” Solante added.
Singapore is experiencing a surge of cases driven by the XBB subvariant, reports said. It is a recombinant of BJ.1 (BA.2.10.1 sublineage) and BM.1.1.1 (BA.2.75 sublineage).
According to Solante, the XBB subvariant is believed to be “highly immune-evasive” that could still infect people with antibodies against COVID-19.
But he noted that this subvariant did not overwhelm healthcare facilities in Singapore.
“What’s good about this is that, most of the time, [based on] the current data in Singapore, those infected are not going to the hospital. It’s not occupying much of their health care facilities,” Solante said.
On Thursday, the Department of Health said the XBB subvariant has not been detected in the country yet.
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