The 21 new Omicron BA.5 variant cases in Western Visayas are not in Negros Occidental, Dr. Adriano Suba-an, Department of Health Western Visayas regional director, said Thursday, June 23.
He said 16 of the cases are from Iloilo City, four from Iloilo province, and one from Guimaras.
The Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) Task Force on COVID-19 New Variants recommended that cases positive for BA.5 variant of concern, either asymptomatic or with mild or moderate symptoms, must complete 14-day isolation.
The 21-day hospital isolation should be observed for severe/critical cases, it added.
The Omicron BA.5 variant was first detected in South Africa on February 2022. Preliminary studies have shown that the BA.5 variant is more transmissible than the B.1.1.529 Omicron variant.
The DOH reiterated the importance of vaccination as a best defense against severe COVID-19 infection and complication, and to observe health protocols such as wearing best-fitted masks, to isolate when signs and symptoms manifest, and to ensure that there is proper airflow or ventilation.*