Omicron cases found in 15 Metro Manila areas – DOH exec

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 19) — Cases of the more contagious Omicron coronavirus variant have been detected in 15 of 17 areas in Metro Manila, according to a health official.

Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau director Dr. Alethea de Guzman added that Omicron cases were also recorded in 13 of 17 regions in the Philippines, driving the COVID-19 surge in the country. This was based on the results of the latest genome sequencing.

De Guzman and Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Tuesday said Omicron is the "predominant" variant in the capital region, but they did not say how many samples were included in the latest genome sequencing.

"In the latest whole genome sequencing run, 97% na po ng mga samples tinest ay Omicron na po, so ibig sabihin po (97% of the tested samples were Omicron so this means] this is predominant currently in this time period that we have now," Vergeire said in a separate briefing.

Vergeire also clarified that the most common lineage in the country is still the Delta variant, which has over 8,000 cases in the country.

The health spokesperson earlier confirmed that there is a community transmission of the Omicron variant in Metro Manila despite delays in genome sequencing.

CNN Philippines' Xianne Arcangel and Janine Peralta contributed to this report.