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15 NCR areas have Omicron cases, says DOH exec

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An official from the Department of Health (DOH) said 15 areas in Metro Manila already have cases of the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant.

DOH Epidemiology Bureau director Dr. Alethea de Guzman, however, did not specify what these areas are.

"Our latest whole genome sequencing showed that the Omicron variant is now the predominant variant in the National Capital Region," de Guzman said during a congressional briefing.

"It's also detected in 13 of 17 regions and in the National Capital Region, 15 of its 17 areas already have local Omicron cases."

De Guzman said the increase in COVID-19 cases was driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

However, the increased mobility and reduced adherence to minimum public health standards, as well as the delays in detection and isolation of cases, also contributed to the spike of infections, she added.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire over the weekend said community transmission of the Omicron variant  is already present in the NCR.

The Health official said the DOH was seeing a similar situation in other regions such as Region IV-A, Region II, CAR, Region VI, VII, and V.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said the Omicron variant already composes 90% of the latest genome sequencing.

The Philippines is still under critical risk for COVID-19 even as the growth rate of infections has slowed down, Duque noted. —KBK, GMA News

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