DOH: First ‘Arcturus’ case in PH asymptomatic, already recovered

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 26) — The country’s first known case of the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16, dubbed “Arcturus” on social media, was detected in Iloilo province and was asymptomatic, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH on Wednesday said the patient already recovered. It has yet to release details on possible close contacts of the individual.

The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier tagged the new Omicron sublineage, which has now been found in over 30 countries, as a “variant of interest.”

It said Arcturus appears to be able to evade immunity and to spread faster, but based on the latest data, the Omicron offshoot does not seem to be causing more severe illness compared to the original variant.

“There may have been slight increases in bed occupancy in India and Indonesia, but levels are still much lower compared to the effects of the previous variants,” the DOH said, citing information from WHO.

“Overall, risk assessment is said to be low,” it added.

The DOH also noted that the WHO has yet to confirm symptoms linked to XBB.1.16 amid reports that people infected with it suffer from “sticky eyes” or conjunctivitis.

“Aside from the known flu-like symptoms of COVID-19, other symptoms may vary from case to case and studies are continuously ongoing of what effects the virus may entail. What is important is that cases remain manageable,” the agency said.

It urged the public to consult a medical professional for proper diagnosis of symptoms.

The DOH also reiterated the importance of vaccination, including getting booster shots, as well as of observing public minimum health standards, such as wearing face masks, isolating when sick, and ensuring good airflow especially when mobile in public places.