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Philippines' first XBF COVID-19 case a Filipino senior with no travel history

The first case of COVID-19 Omicron subvariant XBF in the Philippines is a Filipino senior citizen with no known history of travel, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday.

The DOH said the Filipino senior citizen has already been tagged as recovered.

“The first case detected here in the Philippines is from a Filipino senior citizen with no known history of travel, the individual presented mild symptoms, and has already been tagged as recovered,” the DOH said in a statement.

The DOH said XBF, a recombinant sublineage of Omicron BA.5 and BA2.75, has been linked in the recent increases of cases in Australia and Sweden.

Currently, XBF is classified as an Omicron subvariant under monitoring by the World Health Organization (WHO), the DOH said.

“However, the local sample was detected at a time when the variant was not yet classified as a VUM (variant under monitoring),"the DOH said.

"Further, global experts are still characterizing the variant in terms of transmissibility, immune evasion, and ability to cause more severe disease,” it added.

The DOH has encouraged the public to continue following minimum health protocols and get vaccinated to prevent spread of infections.

It earlier said the lone XBF case in the country was detected in a genome sequence on January 28, with collection date in December 2022.

Aside from XBF, two additional cases of the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 were detected based on the genome sequence results released from February 7 to February 9.

The WHO recently added XBF, XBB.1.5, and CH.1.1 to the list of “Omicron subvariants under monitoring.” —NB, GMA Integrated News