THE Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday, January 15, 2022, confirmed the community transmission of the Omicron variant in the National Capital Region (NCR), where there has been a sharp rise in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases.

In a televised public briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have declared a community transmission owing to the presence of the Omicron variant and the fast rise in cases.

"We are seeing a community transmission here in the NCR of the Omicron variant," said Vergeire.

"While we don't have whole genome sequencing results yet, we have already determined that there are local cases already. And based on the trend we are seeing, the quick spread and very steep rise in the number of cases, these are all characteristics of the Omicron variant," she added.

Based on the trend in areas outside Metro Manila, the health official said they would not be surprised if the community transmission of Omicron variant spreads nationwide.

She cited as example the regions of Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Cordillera Administrative Region, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Bicol Region.

"Almost every area is seeing increase in the two-week growth rates and average daily attack rates. All regions are now at high risk classification," said Vergeire.

"It seems that time will come when the Omicron variant will become the dominant variant in the country if this surge will persist," added Vergeire.

The DOH official said they are projecting that cases will still rise in the country.

Vergeire said this is despite the record-breaking numbers being set in recent days.

"We are not seeing the peak of cases yet. We have still yet to see the peak, which may happen by the end of the month or even later at about second week of February," she said.

"We are seeing that active cases may still double as compared to today," added Vergeire. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)