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  • A 52-YEAR-OLD Finnish female, who arrived from Finland last April 2, is the country’s first case of the BA.2.12 Omicron subvariant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the Department of Health (DOH).

    In a statement, the DOH said that its Center for Health Development in the Cordillera Administrative Region has confirmed the detection of the sublineage of the Omicron variant.

    “The case has finished her 7-day isolation and has recovered and was discharged. The patient returned to her home country on April 21, 2022,” said the DOH, adding that the patient was not required to undergo routine isolation at a quarantine facility because she was fully vaccinated and arrived in the country asymptomatic.

    The patient was traced to have traveled to a university in Quezon City and to Baguio City to conduct seminars after her arrival on April 2.

    Nine days after her arrival in the country, she experienced mild COVID symptoms, such as headache and sore throat.

    She tested positive for COVID-19 via reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) the next day.

    Upon detection of the confirmed COVID-19 case, the DOH said the local epidemiology and surveillance unit performed contact tracing.

    “Nine asymptomatic close contacts were identified. Two of them were tested and found to be negative,” said the DOH.

    According to the World Health Organization, the BA.2.12 has yet to be classified as a variant of interest or variant of concern.

    The DOH, though, noted that preliminary data have shown that the mutation is associated with higher transmissibility, but currently has no evidence that the sublineage can cause more severe disease.

    The BA.2.12 has been recently flagged by the United States Center for Disease Control as causing the increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States.Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday night reported to President Duterte a sharp increase in violations of minimum health protocols, especially mass gatherings, the wearing of face masks and observance of physical distancing.

    Año, during the Talk to the People address that was aired Wednesday, said mass gathering violations rose by 5469 percent, wearing of face mask by196 percent, and observance of physical distancing by 201 percent.

    Año directed local government units, the police, as well as private establishments to observe the stricter implementation of minimum health protocols.

    In his report, the DILG chief said that during the period of April 15 to 24, 724 mass gathering violations were recorded from the previous week’s 13 incidents; 84,969 cases of non-wearing of face masks from 28,622; and 9,057 incidents of physical distancing violations from 3,002.  (G. Naval with J. Montemayor and A. Hachero, Malaya)

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