First Case of Omicron BA.4 Variant Detected in Philippines
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The subvariant of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus dubbed BA.4 has been detected in the Philippines for the first time in a citizen who returned from the Middle East, the Department of Health said on Saturday.
"The Department of Health (DOH) has detected Omicron-BA.4 from a Filipino citizen who flew in from the Middle East last May 4, 2022. His positive test result for the subvariant was from a specimen collected on May 8," the department said in a statement, adding that the person was asymptomatic.
Referring to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control classification, the DOH said that BA.4 variant is characterized by faster transmission among those infected, which can lead to a spike in cases and overwhelm hospitals. The department noted that this Omicron variant is not accompanied by more severe symptoms.
The health department called on the general public to get vaccinated, wear masks and self-isolate when sick.
The Philippine Genome Center had previously opened two laboratories on the islands of Mindanao and Visayas to analyze COVID-19 mutations in order to prepare for possible dangerous viruses in the future.