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Philippines logs 814 more Omicron subvariant cases

The Philippines detected over 800 additional cases of the COVID-19 Omicron subvariants in the recent week, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

Based on the latest sequencing results from September 16 to 19, there were 814 new infections of the Omicron BA.5 and BA.4 subvariants, and other Omicron sublineages found in the country.

Majority of these new cases or 688 of them were BA.5.

Of this number, 126 were from the National Capital Region (NCR), 104 from Western Visayas, 75 from Cagayan Valley, 73 from Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), 56 from Calabarzon, 54 from Soccsksargen, 50 from Ilocos Region, 37 from Central Luzon, 25 from Zamboanga Peninsula, 18 from Central Visayas, 17 from Mimaropa, 16 from Caraga, 15 from Bicol Region, six from Bangsamoro Region, two each from Northern Mindanao and Davao Region, and one from Eastern Visayas.

Eleven returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) were also found carrying the BA.5 subvariant.

The BA.5 has been driving an increase in new COVID-19 infections globally and has shown to be particularly good at evading the immune protection afforded either by vaccination or prior infection.

Aside from the BA.5, the country also detected 16 additional BA.4 cases, and 110 more cases of other Omicron sublineages.

The DOH earlier said that BA.4’s “faster transmission is likely because of its ability to evade immune protection induced by prior infection and/or vaccination, particularly if this has waned over time.”

Ninety-seven COVID-19 cases with no assigned lineages, and another one case with assigned lineage aside from the Omicron variant, were also recorded in the country during the same period.

The DOH said that specimen collections from these new cases were gathered from July 17 to September 11.

On Monday, the DOH logged 3,119 fresh COVID-19 cases—the highest daily number of new infections recorded in the country since September 10.

This comes after eight straight days of fewer than 3,000 new cases, bringing the total nationwide tally to 3,923,727.

The active cases numbered 27,686; total recoveries at 3,833,454; and the death toll at 62,587. —KG, GMA News