Omicron may soon replace Delta as dominant variant in PH: WHO

World Health Organization country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe (PNA photo by Joey Razon)

MANILA – The Omicron variant of the coronavirus may soon replace Delta as the dominant variant in the Philippines, World Health Organization country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said Wednesday.

Abeyasinghe noted that it would be difficult to determine soon which variant is predominant because of “very few” sequencing results from other regions.

“We believe that in the near future, Omicron will displace Delta variant as the predominant variant as it has done in several other countries,” Abeyasinghe said in a televised public briefing.

“The last batch of samples were largely from NCR (National Capital Region) and from returning overseas Filipinos who tested positive and so, it’s not surprising that among the ROFs and also in NCR that we are seeing now Delta variant being displaced by the Omicron variant,” Abeyasinghe added.

Earlier, Philippine Genome Center chief, Dr. Cynthia Saloma, said many Delta variant cases were still detected in the sequencing run last December.

Abeyasinghe added that it was difficult to identify whether the country is now at the height of a case surge or further increase in cases can be expected.

“We are seeing that the incubation period in Omicron is lower than with the Delta and with the various type. And so, this progresses much faster and develops much faster,” he said.

As of Wednesday 4 p.m., the Department of Health logged 32,246 new coronavirus infections, pushing the country’s overall tally to 3,058,634 with 208,164 active cases.

Abeyasinghe said the country would continue to see an increase in cases as the virus spreads to other regions like Central Visayas, Region 4-A (Calabarzon), and Region 5.

“Even in Visayas and Mindanao. So, this is inevitably going to happen, but we need to be careful in assessing and jumping to conclusions,” he added.

He reminded the public to curb the spread of the virus by strictly adhering to the minimum public health standards. (PNA)

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