(Eagle News) – The Philippines has detected 14 cases of the more easily transmissible omicron subvariant BQ.1, the Ministry of Health said on Friday, November 25.
According to the DOH, based on the latest genome sequencing conducted Oct. 28 to Nov. 18 by the Philippine Genome Center of the University of the Philippines, the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine and San Lazaro Hospital, 13 local cases were from the Cordillera Administrative Region. Regions 1, 4A, 7 and National Capital Region.
“What we know about this BQ.1 so far is that compared to the other Omicron subvariants, it is more easily transmissible and also highly immune-evading,” said DOH officer Ma. said Rosario Vergeire.
She urged Filipinos to follow minimum security protocols.
The government has allowed the optional wearing of masks indoors and outdoors in a bid to ease restrictions caused by the pandemic.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has stated that from mid-November to early December 2022, more than 50% of COVID-19 infections will be due to BQ.1 and the closely related BQ.1.1.
“The observed increase in BQ.1 growth rate is probably mainly caused by immune escape,” ECDC said.