PH detects first case of Omicron BA.2.12 subvariant

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 27)— The Philippines has detected its first case of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed Wednesday.

In a statement, the DOH said the case involved a 52-year-old female traveler who arrived from Finland on April 2.

The agency said the patient was not required to undergo facility quarantine as she was fully vaccinated and arrived asymptomatic.

The patient went to a university in Quezon City and also proceeded to Baguio City, according to the DOH.

“Nine days after her arrival in the country, she experienced mild symptoms such as headache and sore throat. She then tested positive for (COVID-19) the next day,” it said.

The DOH said tracing is underway, with nine asymptomatic close contacts already identified. Two of them already tested negative for the coronavirus.

The patient, who has since recovered, returned to Finland on April 21.

The BA.2.12 is a sublineage of the Omicron variant and was recently flagged by the United States Center for Disease Control due to the spike in infections in the US.

READ: New versions of Omicron variant make gains against BA.2

The DOH stressed there is still no current evidence that these sublineages can cause a more severe disease.

More variant cases reported

Majority (83) of the 132 samples last sequenced by authorities turned out to be positive for the Omicron variant, the DOH reported.

Four cases had the Delta variant, while the remaining 45 had no lineage assigned.

With the detection of a new variant in the country, experts underscore the importance of vaccination, particularly the booster shot rollout.

"What is important now is the first booster for the general population," Infectious diseases expert Dr. Rontgene Solante told CNN Philippines.