DOH identifies 44 close contacts of 1st Omicron subvariant case in PHL

The Department of Health (DOH) said it has identified 44 close contacts of the first BA.2.12 case in the country.

“Nine in QC (Quezon City), 5 in Benguet, 30 sa [in the] plane going to Manila.
Based from our current contact tracing,yan na ‘yung total [that is the total],” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said after its Center for Health Development (CHD) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the DOH surveillance systems detected BA.2.12 in a 52-year-old Finnish female who arrived from Finland last April 2, 2022.

The BA.2.12 is a sublineage of the currently circulating Omicron variant which has been recently flagged by the United States Center for Disease Control (US-CDC) to be observed in increasing Covid-19 cases in the United States from two weeks ago.

On Wednesday, the DOH said, that the case traveled to a university in Quezon City and then to Baguio City to conduct seminars. Nine days after her arrival in the country, she experienced mild symptoms such as headache and sore throat. She then tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 via Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) the next day

Upon detection of this confirmed Covid-19 case, the local epidemiology and surveillance unit (LESU) performed contact tracing.

Nine asymptomatic close contacts were identified. Two of them were tested and found to be negative.

Booster shot

Following the detection of BA.2.12, the DOH encouraged the public to get boosted “as soon as possible.”

The DOH noted that the immunity of Covid-19 vaccine “is proven to wane over time.”

“Further, all eligible immunocompromised individuals are likewise encouraged to already get their second booster or 4th dose. Finally, every Juan and Juana should get vaccinated with primary series if not yet done to strengthen our defenses against any variant,” the DOH said.

Scientists are still characterizing these Omicron sublineages in terms of transmissibility and if they can cause more severe disease. Preliminary data have shown that their mutations are associated with higher transmissibility.

However, there is currently no evidence that these sublineages cause more severe disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO), based on global reports and data, declares whether a new variant of interest (VOI) or variant of concern (VOC) has been found.
BA.2.12 at present is not a VOI or VOC.

” The public can avoid all variants, whether new or currently circulating, by continuing to wear the Best-fitting mask, Isolate when sick, Double-up protection through vaccination and boosters, and ensure good Airflow,” the DOH said.

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