MANILA, Philippines – There is still no case of Omicron COVID-19 variant in the Philippines in the latest whole genome sequencing run, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.
In a statement, the DOH said that the genome sequencing conducted on Wednesday by the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) on 48 samples did not detect the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant.
Of the 48 samples sequenced, 38 (79.17%) were Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases; the rest had non-VOC (variant of concern) lineages or had no lineages detected, the DOH added.
The latest sequencing run was composed of 12 returning overseas Filipinos (ROF) and 36 local cases from areas with high-risk average daily attack rates and case clusters.
“Of the additional 38 Delta variant cases, 31 were local cases and seven were ROFs,” the agency said.
“Two ROFs had travel histories from Turkey and one ROF each from Jordan, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, and Peru,” it added.
The DOH disclosed that of the 31 local cases, six had indicated addresses in Cagayan Valley Region, while five cases were from the Cordillera Administrative Region, three cases each from MIMAROPA, Bicol, Western Visayas, SOCCSKSARGEN, and the National Capital Region, two cases each from Central Luzon and CALABARZON, and one case from Davao Region.
“Based on the case line list, one local case is still active, 27 local and all seven ROF cases have been tagged as recovered, and three local cases are currently being verified as to their outcomes,” it said.
“All other details are being validated by the regional and local health offices,” it added.
The additional cases of Delta variant in the country bring the total tally to 7,886.
The DOH said that additional ROF and local cases from areas with increases or clustering will be prioritized for sequencing once these samples have been received by UP-PGC.
The agency added that it is currently coordinating with COVID-19 testing laboratories to expedite transport of these samples.
The DOH reminded the public that the best defense against COVID-19 and its variants is by adhering to the minimum public health standards.
“Everyone should continue to properly wear a face mask, wash their hands often, observe physical distancing, and ensure proper ventilation. Moreover, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 helps prevent severe disease and death,” it said.
“LGUs are urged to continuously conduct active case finding and immediately investigate clustering of cases to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the communities,” it added.