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Philippines reports one more Omicron case, total now at 3

The Philippines has one more case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, bringing the total to three so far, the Department of Health said on Monday.

According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the latest case is a 36-year-old returning overseas Filipino (ROF) who arrived from Qatar on November 28 via Qatar Airways Flight number QR 924.

“He arrived at Mactan Cebu International Airport from Qatar on November 28 via Qatar Airways… and was noted to have had travel history to Egypt,” Vergeire said in a media briefing.

He is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a message to reporters, Vergeire said the ROF was quarantined in Cebu upon arrival and tested positive on December 5. He was then transferred to an isolation facility.

The ROF stayed in isolation until December 16 and traveled home to Cavite on December 17, where he underwent home quarantine.

“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.

"The case is currently finishing his home quarantine in Cavite...asymptomatic since his arrival," the DOH official said.

She added that his whole genome sequencing result came out on December 18.

He was then located, re-swabbed, and tested negative on December 19.

“The DOH is already determining the possible close contacts among co-passengers during the flights of this case,” Vergeire said.

“The DOH [is] also verifying the test results and health status of all passengers of this flight if there are other confirmed cases or passengers who became symptomatic after arrival,” she added.

At present, the DOH has identified three close contacts, Vergeire said.

“Kung saan na-monitor natin, home quarantine sila. We already re-tested them and all of them had results of negative,” she said.

The Philippines last week detected its first two cases of the Omicron variant.

At present, Vergeire said 98 countries have detected the variant, 40 of which have confirmed or suspected local transmission.

Delta variant cases

Meanwhile, the DOH also reported an additional 496 cases of the highly contagious Delta variant and one additional case of the Alpha variant.

This brings the total number of Delta cases in the country to 8,414 as of December 18.

Vergeire said of the 11 ROF that tested positive for Delta, three had travel histories to the United States while one each had travel history to Mexico, Malaysia, Jamaica, Colombia, and the UAE, Qatar, and South Korea.

The latest run sequenced a total of 630 samples. —KG, GMA News