The Philippines has recorded its first two confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in two travelers from Nigeria and Japan respectively, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday.
The DOH said that the Nigerian national arrived in Manila on Nov. 30 via an Oman Air flight, while the returning overseas Filipino arrived on Dec. 1 via Philippine Airlines from Japan.
The two Omicron-positive individuals are now isolated in a facility managed by the Bureau of Quarantine. The Filipino had symptoms of colds and cough upon arrival, the DOH said.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters that one traveler was fully vaccinated while the other was not. The DOH is determining possible close contacts among co-passengers during the flights of these two cases.
"The DOH is verifying the test results and health status of all passengers of these flights to determine if there are other confirmed cases or passengers who became symptomatic after arrival," the DOH added.
The DOH said the two cases of the Omicron variant were detected from the 48 samples sequenced on Tuesday. With the detection of the Omicron variant, the DOH urged people to adhere to the minimum public standards and properly wear face masks, frequently wash hands, observe physical distancing, ensure proper ventilation, and avoid crowded areas.
"Moreover, this holiday season, the public should avoid holding mass gatherings to curb the transmission of COVID-19," the DOH advisory said. It also urged unvaccinated people to get their COVID-19 shots.
The Philippines now has over 2.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 50,351 deaths.
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