PHL reports third Omicron variant case

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PHL reports third Omicron variant case


December 20, 2021

(Eagle News) — The Philippines on Monday, Dec. 20, reported another Omicron variant case, bringing the total number of detected variant cases in the country so far to three.

According to Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire, apart from the additional Omicron variant, 496 cases of the highly contagious Delta variant and one additional Alpha variant case were reported.

Vergeire said the third Omicron variant case was a 36-year-old returning overseas Filipino (ROF) who arrived from Qatar on November 28 via Qatar Airways Flight number QR 924.

The health official said he had a history of travel to Egypt before he arrived in Cebu, where he was quarantined upon arrival.

He tested positive for the variant on December 5 and was later transferred to an isolation facility.

Since his arrival, Vergeire said the case has been asymptomatic.

“The case completed his isolation in Cebu before traveling back to Cavite, his home town, where he immediately self-quarantined at home upon arrival,” Vergeire said.

She said the DOH was determining the case’s close contacts aboard the same flight, with three so far identified.

Meanwhile, Vergeire said the additional Delta variant cases pushed the total Delta variant cases in the country to 8,414.

Earlier, the DOH reported the country’s first two Omicron variant cases, one returning overseas Filipino from Japan and the other a Nigerian national.

The World Health Organization has said the Omicron variant, a variant of concern, may evade existing immunity.

This was following scientific reports that confirmed its over 30 mutations, many of which take place in the spike protein, which has been found to  bind to the human ACE-2 receptor resulting in the infection.

Scientists have found the binding takes place with high affinity as well, which may indicate increased transmissibility and severity.

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