PH ‘Omicron’ contacts identified

December 16, 2021 People's Tonight 349 views

THE two confirmed cases of Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) remain in isolation and under close monitoring, a health official said on Thursday.

In an online media forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted that samples have been collected from them on Thursday for a repeat reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

The Department of Health (DOH) has identified the close contact of the 48-year-old male who is a returning overseas Filipino.

He arrived from Japan on December 1 via Philippine Airlines flight number PR 0427. His sample was collected on December 5 and his positive result was released on December 7.

He was admitted to an isolation facility on the same date. He is currently asymptomatic but had symptoms of colds and cough upon arrival.

“The close contact had a negative RT-PCR test result released last Dec. 4. So, you may be wondering why there is only one case contact, it was because he was seated in business class and there was just one passenger with him in this business class section,” Vergeire said.

Meantime, the DOH has identified seven close contacts of the 37-year-old male who is a Nigerian national.

He arrived on Nov. 30, via Oman Air with flight number WY 843. His sample was collected on Dec. 6, and the result was released on Dec. 7.

He was admitted to an isolation facility on the same date. His current status is also asymptomatic.

“The reason why there were just seven close contacts is because the foreign national sat at the very end of the plane, so, we only counted those in front of him and those on his sides,” Vergeire said.

She added six out of the seven close contacts identified had negative test results which were released between Dec. 2 and 3 while the result of the remaining contact is currently being verified.

Even if the close contacts yielded negative results, they are being contacted by the DOH to determine their latest health status and testing data from the Bureau of Quarantine and Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Units.

Vergeire emphasized that all passengers who took the flights with the two cases have undergone quarantine for five days and have been tested for Covid-19 before going home to their communities.

“Meaning, the chances na mayroon pa po silang sakit at umuwi sa community ay napakaliit na po dahil nagawa na po natin lahat ng guidelines na ating sundin (Meaning, the chances of them being infected when they reached their communities is small since we have executed everything in the guidelines that has to be observed),” she said.

Vergeire urged the public to cooperate with the government by doing their part in keeping the spread of the Omicron variant at bay instead of panicking or being scared.

“Kailangan focused tayo, kailangang walang complacency. Kahit ano pa pong variant ang pumasok sa ating bansa, as long as we comply with the safety protocols, minimum public health standards,’ yung tiyansa po na maprotektahan tayo sa kahit na anong variant ay nandiyan,” she said.

As for the protocols implemented by the government, Vergeire said nothing needs to be changed amid the presence of the Omicron variant in the country because the intensified border control was proven to be effective in determining the entry of variants of concern nationwide. Philippine News Agency