Mayor Benjamin Magalong has assured that the Omicron variant sub-lineage BA 2.12 case detected in the city is not yet seen to pose a serious threat but urged people to be cautious by observing health and safety protocols and getting booster shots.
The mayor said the patient, a 52-year=old female from Finland had recovered and returned home without infecting any of her close contacts while in the city.
“Looking at the timeline, it appears that it did not impact our cases. She was diagnosed last April 11 and had prior engagements here so we expected that after six days up to the 14th day, we should have seen an increase in cases but as it is, we did not have any. So I think we were able to manage and control the situation,” the mayor said.
He however warned that an increase is still possible considering the relaxed entry rules which allow tourists even from areas with case increase to travel, the increased public engagements due the forthcoming elections where lapses in health protocols are observed and the continuing threat of the variants including the BA 2.12 and the recombinant variant Omicron XE.
“It is just a matter of time before we get Omicron XE. We expect our cases to gradually increase because looking at the dynamics of interaction, we can expect higher transmission rate especially after the elections,” the mayor said.
“As of now there is no cause for alarm but let’s be conscious of our safety. Wear masks, avoid handshake, observe the usual handwashing, disinfection and ventilation rules and do elbow bumps instead. More importantly, get your booster shots,” the mayor said.
The mayor however assured that the city is prepared for a surge with its contingency plan and systems tha t tided the city over the delta and omicron variant surges still intact.
City Health Service Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said the BA.2.12 patient with known comorbidity of hypertension arrived in the country on April 2 and in Baguio on April 7.
She started exhibiting symptoms on April 10 and got her positive test result on April 11.
On April 12, case was admitted in a hospital with initial diagnosis of Hypertension Stage II COVID infection and was discharged on April 18.
On April 20, 2022, the patient travelled back to Finland.
Her infection was confirmed as Omicron variant sublineage BA.2.12 in the April 23 report of the Phil. Genome Center.
Omicron BA.2.12 is the subvariant triggering case surges in the US and South Korea.
Its presentation is not much different from the omicron BA.2 that caused the surge in the Philippines early this year.
According to experts, it is 20% more transmissible than BA.2 but is not considered a major threat.