A TOTAL of 140 new cases of BA.5 Omicron subvariant were detected by the Department of Health (DOH) in the recent genome sequencing of samples collected from June 29 to July 4, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Thursday, July 7, 2022.

Of the new cases, Vergeire said 99 were from Region 6 (Western Visayas), 21 from the National Capital Region (NCR), seven from Calabarzon (Region 4A), five in Ilocos region, one each in Regions 3 (Central Luzon), 5 (Bicol), 7 (Central Visayas), 8 (Eastern Visayas), 10 (Northern Mindanao), 4B (Mimaropa) and Cordillera, and one returning overseas Filipino.

She said the vaccination status of the 121 is still being verified, while 16 were determined to be fully vaccinated and three were unvaccinated.

Of the 190 cases, 129 were tagged as recovered, four were still undergoing isolation, while the outcome of the seven others are still being verified.

The DOH has so far detected 233 cases of the BA.5 subvariant, which is said to be more transmissible than its mother variant, the Omicron, the most transmissible among all coronavirus disease (Covid-19) variants.

The DOH also detected 20 additional cases of the BA.2.12.1, another subvariant of Omicron.

Of the 20 new cases, five were from the NCR, four each from Region 6 and 4A, two from the Cordillera Region, one from Region 1 and four returning overseas Filipinos.

One of the cases was unvaccinated, nine were fully vaccinated, while the vaccination status of the others is still being verified.

Vergeire said 17 of them were already tagged as recovered, while the condition of the three others is still being verified.

She said the new cases brought the country’s BA.2.12.1 caseload to 70.

Health officials also detected seven additional cases of the BA.4 sunvariant of Omicron in which six were from the Bicol region while one was in the NCR.

Five of them received full inoculation against Covid-19 while the two others did not.

All of them though have been tagged as recovered.

Vergeire said the exposure of the 167 new cases of Omicron subvariants, as well as their travel histories are still being verified.

Vergeire said they are yet to determine the levels of transmission of the Omicron subvariant, whether there is already a local or community transmission.

"When we declare the levels of transmission in an area, kailangan natin ng sapat na ebidensya...Marami pa kaming detalye na kulang so kailangan ho mabuo natin, maanalisa," she said.

"Whatever the level of transmission...we just continue implementing and complying with our safety protocols atsaka magpabakuna tayo," she added.

As of July 5, more than 70.8 million individuals in the country have been fully vaccinated, which means they have completed a two-dose series of single shot Covid-19 vaccines.

Over 9.3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 and 3.6 million children aged five to 11 were also fully vaccinated.

Out of the fully vaccinated adults, 15.2 million individuals received first booster shots, while 895,000 eligible persons received second booster doses.

Vergeire said they target to administer booster doses to 50 percent of the eligible individuals by October. (SunStar Philippines)