THE Department of Health (DOH) reported Thursday, January 6, the detection of 29 more cases of highly transmissible Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) of Sars-CoV-2, which causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in the country.

In a statement, the DOH said 10 of the 29 cases are returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs), while 19 are local cases from National Capital Region, which has been placed under Alert Level 3 until January 15, 2022.

These new cases brought the country’s total infections with the Omicron variant to 43.

The health department said 14 of the 19 new local cases are still active, three have recovered, and two others are still undergoing verification.

It added that the new Omicron variant cases were detected from the 48 samples that were genome sequenced last Sunday, January 2.

The agency is currently verifying the health status of passengers who were with the 10 ROFs.

“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,” it said.

Aside from Omicron cases, the DOH also reported 18 additional Delta variant cases, which brought the country’s confirmed Delta infections to 8,497.

The DOH said earlier that Omicron and Delta variants of Sars-CoV-2 are circulating in communities already, thus it advised the public to be vigilant and get vaccinated or boosted as soon as possible.

The agency said Covid-19 vaccines, which are safe and free, are still the best defense against the disease. (LMY)