Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire gives live press briefing about COVID-28 on Friday afternoon. (Screenshot from DOH Facebook Live)

Twelve cases of Omicron BA.2.12.1 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant were detected in Puerto Princesa City, according to health officials.

Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire, in a live press briefing on Friday afternoon, said of 12 Omicron BA.2.12.1 in Palawan, 11 are foreigners while 1 is local.

“Nakapag-detect na tayo ng kaso ng BA.2.12.1. sa NCR at saka sa Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Unang naitala ang BA.2.12.1. sa bansa sa dalawang indibidwal sa NCR. Sila ay nakapagpa-booster na kaya naman mild ang kanilang sintomas noong tinamaan sila ng virus. They have completed their isolation and they are now tagged asymptomatic and recovered,” Vergeire said.

“Sa kabilang banda, isang mini cruise line na may sakay na 18 Filipino crew members ang dumaong sa Puerto Princesa City noong April 22. Kinabukasan, April 23, 25 foreign nationals/tourists ang sumakay din sa nasabing cruise para mag-diving sa Tubbataha Reefs. Tatlong araw matapos silang makaalis, isang foreign national ang nakaranas ng nasal congestion ang nagpa-antigen at lumabas na positive,” she added.

Vergeire said the incident was immediately reported and the crew members were advised to return to the city for management. A total of 43 tourists and crew members were tested, with 15 of them testing positive on April 29.

The patients, who were all completely immunized and had gotten their booster doses, have completed their isolation and are asymptomatic.

“Sa 15 na nag-positibo, lima ang nagkaroon ng mild symptoms, including the two prior symptomatic individuals, but all are now asymptomatic. All cases were isolated at a facility and have been discharged,” Vergeire said.

According to health experts, BA.2.12.1, a sublineage of BA.2, spreads easily and is highly transmissible.

“Itong dalawang ‘to pareho silang more transmissible than the original omicron variant tsaka pareho silang may possibility ng immune escape,” Vergeire added.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.