(Eagle News)–The Philippines has logged a case of the Omicron subvariant BA.4.
According to the Department of Health, the Omicron BA.4, tagged as a variant of concern by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, was detected in a Filipino who flew in from the Middle East on May 4.
The DOH said the positive result was based on a test conducted on the Filipino’s specimen on May 8.
The Filipino, the DOH said, was asymptomatic.
“DOH has been coordinating with the concerned LGUs since confirmation of the case to rapidly implement detection and isolation activities as part of the PDITR response,” the DOH said.
According to the agency, a variant of concern is seen to either spread faster or cause worse illness.
The agency said BA.4’s faster transmission may be because of its ability to evade immune protection induced by prior infection, and/or infection, particularly if this has waned over time.
It said that while the ECDC did not observe any change in severity for BA.4 compared to other Omicron subvariants, the Philippines should be careful as a “faster transmission will lead to a spike in cases that could overwhelm our hospitals and clinics.”
“Henceforth, all LGUs are strongly advised to proactively seek the unvaccinated and those eligible for boosters and make it convenient to get a jab,” the DOH said.