Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

The Department of Health (DOH) is closely monitoring three travelers who arrived in the Philippines from South Africa, Burkina Faso in West Africa, and Egypt who were tested positive for Covid-19 as they may have been infected with the Omicron variant.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Friday said one of those who tested positive for Covid-19 was a 23-years old overseas Filipino worker who arrived from South Africa on November 1.

“We are verifying info and isolation status. Sample received at PGC (Philippine Genome Center) yesterday and will be included in next sequencing run,” Vergeire said.

From November 15 to 29, the DOH logged 253 travelers from South Africa, three from Burkina Faso and 541 from Egypt who flew back to the Philippines. There were 182 more Filipinos who arrived from South Africa during the same period that the government is trying to locate.

“Each of these countries had a traveler who tested positive for Covid-19 … so all of these as long as their CT (cycle threshold) values are appropriate, we will send them to the Philippine Genome Center for whole genome sequencing,” Vergeire added.

The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa and has caused many nations including the Philippines to close their borders to various travelers, particularly from some African countries. The Omicron variant is believed to be 500-percent more infectious than the Delta variant.

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