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DOH: 906 more Omicron subvariant BA.5 cases found in Philippines

The Philippines has detected 906 more Omicron subvariant BA.5 of the coronavirus disease, Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said Tuesday.

At a press briefing, Vergeire said at least 10 individuals from all regions except Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga, and the Bangsamoro region tested positive for the BA.5 subvariant.

In its breakdown, the DOH said 265 cases came from Western Visayas, 127 from the National Capital Region (NCR), 121 from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), 97 from Cagayan Valley, 73 from Central Luzon, 56 from Calabarzon, 49 from Bicol Region, 40 from Ilocos Region, 39 from Mimaropa, 13 from Zamboanga Peninsula, 12 from Eastern Visayas, and 10 from Central Visayas.

Four returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) also tested positive for the BA.5 sub variant.

Vergeire said the total number of BA.5 cases in the country is now at 4,013, based on the latest genome sequencing run.

Of these cases, 814 individuals are also tagged as recovered, 49 are still undergoing isolation, while the outcome of others are still being verified.

Six hundred eighty-two of these new cases are also fully vaccinated, 14 are partially vaccinated, while the vaccination status of the remaining  210 individuals are still being determined.

All of their exposure, travel histories, and health status are still unknown. 

Increase in COVID-19 cases

On Monday, Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Saloma said the increase in COVID-19 cases in the past weeks may be attributed to the Omicron BA.5 subvariant which now comprises about 85% of their sequenced samples.

She added that of the 1,100 to 1,200 samples being sequenced in the country per week, BA.5 was the “most predominant variant” detected as compared to the other Omicron sub-variants like BA.4, BA.2.12.1, and BA.2.3.


Further, Vergeire said there are 11 additional Omicron BA.4 cases in the country, bringing its total caseload to 115.

Vergeire said that all these 11 fresh BA.4 cases are now tagged as recovered.

Five of them came from the Bicol Region, and two each were from Western Visayas, CAR, and NCR.

Of these new cases,  nine individuals are fully vaccinated, while the vaccination of the two others are still being determined.

Their exposure, travel histories, and health status are also still unknown.


There were also seven more Omicron BA.2.12.1 found in the country, which now totals to 181.

According to Vergeire, all of them are now tagged as recovered.

Four of these new BA.2.12.1 cases came from Ilocos Region, and one each from Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas, and Calabarzon.

Six of them are also fully vaccinated, while the vaccination status of the other person is still being determined.

Their exposure, travel histories, and health status are also still being identified.

The BA.5, BA.4, and BA.2.12.1 are all Omicron subvariants under monitoring by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Vergeire also earlier said that BA.5 and the BA.4 subvariants do not cause critical or severe infection and they almost share the same characteristics.

The DOH also said then that these subvariants should “not be any cause of concern.”

Meanwhile, Vergeire previously said that the BA.2.12.1 and the BA.2.12 may be “more transmissible than the original Omicron variant” and may possibly have an immune escape based on studies.


Vergeire also said that there are no new additional cases of BA.2.75 detected in the Philippines, aside from its first two cases found in Western Visayas.

The WHO has tagged the BA.2.75 as a "variant under monitoring." 

Infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante earlier said that BA.2.75 may be more transmissible compared to other subvariants and may have the capability to evade current COVID-19 vaccines.

This was echoed by Vergeire, but pointed out that there are no studies yet showing that the BA.2.75 may cause severe diseases. — RSJ, GMA News