DOH: PH’s first Omicron subvariant case a fully vaxxed, asymptomatic person
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s first BA.2.12 Omicron subvariant case was a fully vaccinated woman who did not undergo quarantine upon arrival in the Philippines because she initially did not show symptoms, the Department of Health (DOH) disclosed Wednesday.
The health agency said in a statement that the BA.2.12 Omicron subvariant was detected in a 52-year-old Finnish female who arrived from Finland on April 2.
“The case was not required to undergo routine isolation at a quarantine facility since she was fully vaccinated and arrived asymptomatic,” according to the DOH.
The woman traveled to a university in Quezon City and Baguio to conduct seminars, the DOH also said.
“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 the next day,” it added.
The DOH further said that the local epidemiology and surveillance unit conducted contact tracing upon detection of the confirmed BA.2.12 Omicron subvariant case. “Nine asymptomatic close contacts were identified. Two of them were tested and found to be negative,” it noted.
The woman has finished her seven-day isolation, has recovered, and was already discharged, according to the DOH, adding that the woman returned to Finland on April 21.
The BA.2.12 subvariant is a sublineage of the Omicron variant, which spread in the United States and has been detected in South Korea.
According to DOH, 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,” it added.
The DOH assured the public that the country’s surveillance systems can detect new cases and characterize their lineage.
At present, the BA.2.12 is not a variant of interest or concern.
“The public can avoid all variants, whether new or currently circulating, by continuing to wear the best-fitting mask, Isolate when sick, Double-up protection through vaccination and boosters, and ensure good Airflow,” the DOH said.