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DOH: No Omicron variant in PH yet

December 06, 2021 - Monday 6:12 PM by GDM

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The Department of Health announced Monday that the much feared Omicron variant has not reached the country yet.

In a press briefing,  Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that most of the samples sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center were Delta variant.

"Out of all of those samples tested in the latest genome sequencing run, wala pong na-detect na [We didn't detect] Omicron variant, most of the detections were that of the Delta variant," she said.
 
“There were 629 samples sequenced in the latest run. Of these, 571 or 90.78% are positive for Delta variant, 0.16% or 1 for Beta variant, and another 1 for Alpha variant,” the DOH official added.
The World Health Organization earlier said that the potential further spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant at the global scale is "high," warning that it may cause future surges with "severe consequences."
 
The Omicron variant, which South African scientists first detected, is a "highly divergent variant" with a high number of mutations, including 26-32 in the spike, some of which are concerning and may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility.

Vergeire said that the country cannot prevent the entry of the new variant.

 “Hindi natin sinasabi na it will not enter the country. Ang pinaguusapan natin ngayon when it will enter the country,” Vergeire said.

On the other hand, she said that the country remains at “minimal risk case classification, amid the declining COVID-19 cases recently.

“These average cases per day is already 9 times lower than those reported in July of 2021 at 4,982 and also lower than 1,130 cases per day observed from December 27, 2020, from January 2 of 2021,” Vergeire said.

Flights  coming from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy are barred until Dec. 15 amid the threat of the Omicron variant.

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