DOH exec: ‘It looks like the Omicron wave is upon us’

By: Neil Arwin Mercado - Inquirer.net | January 03,2022 - 11:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines — It seems that the “Omicron wave” is upon the Philippines as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary and country’s treatment czar Leopoldo Vega said Monday, January 3, 2022.

Vega said COVID-19 cases in the country have doubled in recent days and that “this is the start and we are very sure that this will peak.”

Nonetheless, he said the Omicron variant is still not the most dominant variant in the country so far in terms of number of cases.

“Well, it looks like the Omicron wave is upon us. And we’ve seen this globally across South Africa and Europe and there has been a steady increase in our landscape here in the Philippines in terms of the Omicron,” Vega said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

“Our numbers have doubled and this is the start and we are very sure that this will peak. When it will press down and decelerate, we don’t know, but what is very important is that we are prepared for this Omicron virus,” he added.

Vega said the government is preparing the country’s health systems capacity including testing and isolation.

When asked if the DOH was certain that the rise in cases is due to the Omicron variant, Vega said the Delta variant is still the most dominant variant in the country in terms of number of cases.

“I think we have still the Delta around… but since we reported our first Omicron case way back December 5 and there has been a continuously increase in the sequencing of this Omicron virus, it looks like we will presume that the Omicron is here, but it’s still not dominant,” Vega said.

“I think in about three to four weeks, as predicted, the Omicron will be dominant in terms of 50% or 90% of the cases overtaking the Delta virus but the Delta virus definitely is still around with us,” he added.

On Sunday, the Philippines recorded 4,600 new COVID-19 cases — the highest recorded since Oct. 24, 2021.

The new infections raised the number of active COVID-19 cases to 21,418, or almost back to the number of cases the country had in November of last year before the number of daily cases dipped below 1,000 during the holidays.

Independent monitoring group OCTA Research over the weekend said Metro Manila is now at high-risk for COVID-19 transmission as its positivity rate has further increased.

READ MORE: Omicron-related disruptions cause over 3,600 flight cancellations to start off 2022

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TAGS: Department of Health, Omicron wave

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