The Department of Health (DOH) has detected the first case of Omicron-BA.2.12 in Baguio City.
Omicron-BA.2.12 is a sublineage of the currently circulating Omicron variant which has been recently flagged by the United States Center for Disease Control (US-CDC) to be observed in increasing Covid-19 cases in the US two weeks ago.
In a statement Wednesday, the DOH said the Omicron-BA.2.12 was detected in a 52-year-old Finnish female who arrived from Finland last April 2, 2022.
The case was not required to undergo routine isolation at a quarantine facility since she was fully vaccinated and arrived asymptomatic.
She visited a university in Quezon City and went to Baguio City afterwards to conduct seminars.
“Nine days after her arrival in the country, she experienced mild symptoms such as headache and sore throat. She then tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 via Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) the next day,” the DOH said.
The local epidemiology and surveillance unit (LESU) performed contact tracing upon detection of the confirmed Omicron-BA.2.12 case.
Nine asymptomatic close contacts were identified with two of them tested negative for Covid-19.
“Subsequently, the case has finished her seven-day isolation and has recovered and discharged. The patient returned to her home country on April 21, 2022,” the DOH said.
It assured the public that the country’s surveillance systems are able to detect new cases and characterize their lineage.
The World Health Organization, based on global reports and data, declares whether a new variant of interest (VOI) or variant of concern (VOC) has been found.
Currently, Omicron-BA.2.12 at present is not a VOI or VOC.
Scientists are still characterizing these Omicron sublineages in terms of transmissibility and if they can cause more severe disease. Preliminary data have shown that their mutations are associated with higher transmissibility.
However, there is currently no evidence that these sublineages cause more severe disease.
The DOH urged the public to wear the best-fitting mask, isolate when sick, double-up protection through vaccination and boosters, and ensure good airflow in their homes and workplaces to avoid all new and circulating variants.