Department of Health (DOH) – Technical Advisory Group member Dr. Edsel Salvaña, an infetious disease expert, said Monday the number of Covid-19 cases remains manageable and there is no indication yet of a rise due to the election campaign rallies and the entry of the new Omicron subvariant.
“Right now, the numbers remain manageable. And even if the numbers do go up to several thousand, because of the high vaccination rate, the number of people who actually developed severe disease remained low,” Salvaña said in a televised Laging Handa briefing.
Earlier, the DOH detected the first cases of Omicron BA.2.12.1 subvariant in the National Capital Region and Palawan, but he said the country would not go back to lockdowns like what happened in 2020 when the population did not have immunity yet against Covid-19.
Salvana suggests, however, that even fully vaccinated persons need to receive their boosters for an added layer of protection.
“At least one booster since that’s the only one allowed, for now, that’s a big help in preventing future surges. In case of surges, the number of people who have severe disease will remain low and the hospitals remain open,” he added.
Preliminary data about the BA.2.12.1 subvariant show it is 20- 30% more transmissible compared to the original Omicron variant. There are no data yet which indicate that it causes more severe diseases.
Salvaña noted that BA.2.12.1 cases in the country are mild and mostly asymptomatic. “For now, we see that it has not taken over. We see that most cases in the Philippines are BA.2 and we still see Delta cases at times,” he pointed out.
He said available Covid-19 vaccines in the country remain effective against Omicron BA.2.12.1 and other circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2.