Metro Manila, Philippines — The country has detected its first two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Wednesday.
In a statement, the DOH said the two cases — both international travelers — are currently isolated in a facility under the Bureau of Quarantine.
The report came following the latest genome sequencing of 48 samples on Tuesday.
The first Omicron case is a returning overseas Filipino who arrived from Japan on Dec. 1 via a Philippine Airlines flight.
The patient had coughs and colds upon arrival but is now asymptomatic, the Health department said.
The second case is a Nigerian national who arrived on Nov. 30 via an Oman Air flight, it also said, adding that the patient is also currently asymptomatic.
The government is conducting active case finding and tracing for possible close contacts of the cases during their flights.
Get vaccinated, get boosters
Government officials, meanwhile, encouraged Filipinos to get their COVID-19 shots as soon as they can.
“We assure our people that we will closely monitor developments of the two cases in light of existing protocols, as we continue to remind the public not to let their guard down, to religiously observe minimum public health standards, and call upon all those unvaccinated to get their jabs as soon as possible,” acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said in a statement.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque also called on the public to sign up for boosters.
“Of course, we should all be alarmed. That is why, kinakailangang magpabakuna na po tayo,” Duque told reporters. “Magpa-booster shot tayo doon sa mga nakatapos na.”
[Translation: Of course, we should all be alarmed. That is why we need to get vaccinated. For those with complete doses, let’s take our boosters.]
More Delta cases
Apart from the Omicron cases, authorities also detected 33 Delta variant cases in the latest sequencing run — which was composed of samples from returning Filipinos, local cases from areas with clusters, and a foreign national.
Of this number, 14 are returning Filipinos while 19 are local cases. There are now a total of 7,919 confirmed Delta cases in the country.
CNN Philippines’ Tristan Nodalo contributed to this report.