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Philippines detects two cases of Omicron sub-variant BA.5

MANILA (XINHUA) – The Philippines has detected COVID-19 Omicron sub-variant BA.5 from two people in the same household in a province north of the capital, an official from the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the BA.5 was detected on May 15 from the samples of two fully vaccinated individuals and boosted with COVID-19 vaccines living in the central Luzon region.

“Both have unknown exposure as they did not have a travel history,” she told an online media briefing.

Vergeire said they were considered “mild cases” after manifesting cold and cough. Both have since recovered. She added that one of close contacts, also a household member, is in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Philippines has also detected the Omicron sub-variants BA.2.12.1 and BA.4.

Vergeire said the country’s hospitalisation rate remains “at low risk despite a slight increase in case counts”.

The country has reported less than 200 infections daily, primarily mild or asymptomatic cases. The Philippines now has over 3.69 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 60,455 deaths.

As of June 1, the DOH reported that 69.4 million Filipinos have been fully-vaccinated, or 77 per cent of the target population. However, the agency said that 40.9 million have yet to get their booster shots.

A healthcare worker uses a swab while testing a patient for COVID-19 at the Dagupan City Astrodome in Dagupan city. PHOTO: BENARNEWS