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DoH detects first cases of Omicron subvariant in NCR, Puerto Princesa

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The Department of Health (DoH) on Friday reported the country’s first cases of the more transmissible Omicron BA.2.12.1 subvariant in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

In a media briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that a total of 14 Omicron subvariant cases were detected, of which 12 came from Puerto Princesa City, while two were found in Metro Manila.

Vergeire said the two cases found in the NCR were tagged as local cases. Both of them are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and completed their home isolation last 28 April.

She noted that the two local cases have also received their booster shots and only experienced mild symptoms. Their close contacts, which are 39 in total, are not showing any Covid-19 symptoms.

“We are now determining their vaccination status including their quarantine,” she added.

The official also reported that the 12 cases of the Omicron subvariant in Puerto Princesa, which consisted of 11 foreign tourists and one local, tested positive for Covid-19 on 29 April after being on board a mini cruise line in Palawan.

Vergeire said all of them are now tagged as recovered while their 28 close contacts have tested negative for Covid-19.

The BA.2.12.1, is a sublineage of the Omicron BA.2 subvariant. It has been detected in 23 countries.

The Philippines previously reported its first case of BA.2.12 in April in a 52-year-old Finnish woman, who went to Baguio City and Quezon City for a series of seminars.

“In totality, these two [Omicron subvariants] are more transmissible than the original Omicron variant. They also both have the possibility of immune escape,” she said.

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