March 23, 2023

The Omicron BA.5 subvariant could be driving new Covid-19 infections up to more than 2,000 per day, an infectious disease expert said.

Dr. Rontgene Solante said compared to the other Omicron subvariants circulating in the country, BA.5 was found in a majority of the new cases.

If you will look at the number of samples we’ve sequenced, it’s few, but in that low number of amount, it can be seen that majority is BA.5,” he said.

“So, that’s already a representation of what is going on in the community, what is going on in the population.”

Citing observations from the ground, Solante said most of the people infected with Covid-19 are those unvaccinated, as well as boosted and unboosted senior citizens and persons with comorbidities aged 50 years and above.

“That’s why in the vulnerable population we have to focus on this one, how to maximize the protection and that is really encouraging them to get the second booster and continue with the health protocols because of their age and their immunocompromised condition, they have low protection and they can get this BA.5 and can be getting the severe form of the BA.5,” he added.

Earlier, the Department of Health said there is no need to tighten border control despite the presence of Omicron subvariants and increasing daily infections.

Solante echoed the DOH stand, emphasizing the importance of monitoring the severe cases and health care utilization.

“Without the fear that when we have this virus, we will be having severe infection and that includes the efficiency of how we can manage to increase the (boosted) population and balancing also that we continue to do testing, compliance with the local government units on providing vaccines and at the same time, contact tracing and all other aspects of the pandemic that we can move forward and at the same time without much destruction to our life,” he said. – PNA11111