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DOH finds three further examples of Omicron subvariant Arcturus.

The number of confirmed cases of the XBB.1.16 Omicron subvariant known as Arcturus, discovered in Western Visayas, has increased to four after the Department of Health (DOH) discovered three further instances.

The DOH added that the instances are among the 207 samples sequenced by the San Lazaro Hospital and the University of the Philippines’ Main, Visayas, and Mindanao branches of the Philippine Genome Centre (PGC) from April 26 to May 6.

“About 159 or 76.81 percent were classified as XBB, including 72 XBB.1.9.1 cases, 35 XBB.1.5 cases, 13 XBB.1.9.2 cases, and three XBB.1.16 cases,” the DOH reported.

The DOH said last month that the province of Iloilo had the first incidence of Arcturus, but the patient had recovered and showed no symptoms.

The remaining 156 XBB cases come from the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Cordillera Administrative Region, and the National Capital Region (NCR). Two of the remaining 156 XBB cases are returning overseas Filipinos.

Twenty-seven cases, or 13.04 percent, were categorized as BA.2.3.20, one case was BA.5.13 cases, or 6.28 percent, was categorized as various Omicron sublineages, and one case was categorized as another SARS-CoV-2 lineage, according to the DOH.

Locally, the NCR is home to the detected BA.5 case. At the same time, the other BA.2.3.20 instances were discovered in the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Davao Region, Caraga, and the NCR.

In addition to XBB.1.5 and XBB.1.16, the World Health Organisation has designated BA.2.75, BQ.1, XBB, CH.1.1, XBF, XBB.1.9.1, and KBB.1.9.2 as variants under surveillance as of April 26.

As of April 20, the BA.2.75, XBB.1.5, BQ.1, and XBB variations have been designated as variants of interest by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, while CH.1.1 and XBB.1.16 have been placed under monitoring.

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