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There is no indication yet of a local transmission of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 in the country, an infectious disease expert said Monday.

In a televised public briefing, Department of Health (DOH) – Technical Advisory Group member, Dr. Edsel Salvaña, said certain areas were placed under Alert Level 2 because they have not reached the minimum vaccination rate corresponding to their eligible population, not due to the detection of BA.2.12.1 cases.

However, Salvaña did not discount the possibility of local transmission as the subvariant is highly transmissible.

“Para masabi namin na meron talagang local transmission, lalung-lalo na iyong tinatawag na sustained local transmission, tinitingnan natin itong transmission chain niyan at makikita natin kung mati-trace pa natin (For us to say there is really local transmission, especially sustained local transmission, we look at its transmission chain and see if it can be traced),” he said.

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Earlier, the DOH detected two local cases of BA.2.12.1 in the National Capital Region. Both had no international travel history.

Twelve other BA.2.12.1 cases were also detected from a tourist cluster in Palawan, 11 of them foreign nationals.

“Halimbawa, iyung sa Palawan, very clear naman [na] isang cluster iyon. Itong sa Metro Manila, iyung dalawa na BA.2.12.1, sinusuri po natin iyong contacts niyan at kung saan man nila nakuha (For example, the one in Palawan, it’s very clear that it’s one cluster. The two BA.2.12.1 cases in Metro Manila, we’re examining their contacts and where they got it). Is it abroad, is it something that was imported o mayroon ba talagang (or was there a) hidden community transmission?” Salvaña said.

The DOH assured the public that Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective against the BA.2.12.1 subvariant and they help keep the health care utilization low and the economy reopening under Alert Level 1.

The following provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities are under Alert Level 2 until May 31, without prejudice to their respective component cities and municipalities which may be under a different Alert Level classification: Luzon: Cordillera Administrative Region: Benguet, Ifugao; Region 4-A: Quezon Province; Region 4-B: Occidental Mindoro, and Palawan; and Region V: Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Masbate, and Sorsogon; Visayas: Region 6: Antique and Negros Occidental; Region 7: Bohol, Cebu Province, and Negros Oriental; and Region 8: Leyte, Northern Samar, and Western Samar; Mindanao: Region 9: City of Isabela, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga Sibugay; Region 10: Lanao del Norte; Region 11: Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, and Davao Occidental; Region 12: General Santos City, North Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, and South Cotabato; Caraga: Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, and Surigao del Norte; and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao: Basilan, Cotabato City, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. (PNA)

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