THE country has detected 618 more cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2, which causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), pushing the total tally to 1,153, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday, January 27, 2022.

The 618 newly detected Omicron cases were among the 677 samples that underwent the latest genome sequencing.

The DOH said the “stealth Omicron” or the BA.2 sub-lineage, which was first detected in the country in December 2021, was found to be the majority of Omicron cases in the latest batch.

Of the 618 additional Omicron cases, 497 were local cases, while 121 were returning overseas Filipinos.

A total of 13 cases were still active, two had died, 560 were tagged as recovered and 43 were still being verified.

Of the local cases, 238 were in Metro Manila, 71 in Calabarzon, 30 in Ilocos Region and Western Visayas, 27 in Central Luzon, 20 in Central Visayas and 19 in Cagayan Valley.

Thirteen cases were also detected in Cordillera Administrative Region, 10 in Davao Region, six in Soccsksargen, two in Bicol Region, and one each in Mimaropa and Northern Mindanao.

Earlier, the DOH said five individuals who were infected with the Omicron variant have died.

It said all of the five fatalities had comorbidities. One of them was partially vaccinated, one was unvaccinated, while the vaccination status of the three were still being verified.

The country is experiencing another surge in Covid-19 cases believed to be driven by the Omicron variant.

On Monday, January 24, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said Covid-related deaths are increasing amid the Omicron-driven surge, with an average of 25 deaths per day. (SunStar Philippines)