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Palace warns the public not to relax their watch.

Following the confirmation of two instances of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the Philippines by health officials, Malacanang warned the public not to be complacent and to maintain following to minimal public health standards on Wednesday.

After the Department of Health (DOH) found the Omicron variation in two visitors who recently arrived in the Philippines from Japan and Nigeria, Acting Presidential Spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles stated the government would “closely monitor” developments on the Omicron variant.

“We assure our people that we will closely monitor developments in the two cases in light of existing protocols,” he said in a Palace statement. “At the same time, we continue to remind the public not to let their guard down, to religiously observe minimum public health standards, and to call upon all those who are unvaccinated to get their jabs as soon as possible.”

Nograles applauded the country’s health and medical specialists for spotting the Omicron variety early on.

“We applaud our health professionals, particularly the Department of Health, the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center, and the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health,” he added.

Early detection is part of the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) policy, which has been in place throughout the epidemic, according to him.

According to the DOH, active case finding and contact tracing are being done to ascertain the health status of confirmed cases’ co-passengers.

The DOH identified two imported instances of the Omicron type from 48 samples sequenced on Tuesday in a press release.

The first patient is a Filipino national who arrived from Japan on December 1 after an international trip, and the second patient is a Nigerian citizen who arrived from Nigeria on November 30.

“One is a Returning Overseas Filipino (ROF) who flew in from Japan on Philippine Airlines flight number PR 0427 on December 1, 2021. The sample was taken on December 5, 2021. On December 7, his positive result was announced, and the case was placed in an isolation unit on the same day. He is currently asymptomatic but had cold and cough symptoms when he arrived, according to the DOH.

“The other case is a Nigerian person who arrived from Nigeria by Oman Air flight number WY 843 on November 30, 2021. On December 6, 2021, a sample was taken, and the results were released on December 7, 2021. On the same day, he was admitted to an isolation facility. His current state is asymptomatic as well.”

Patients with the Omicron Covid-19 strain are being isolated in a facility run by the Bureau of Quarantine, according to the DOH.

It’s also checking the test findings and health status of all passengers on these flights to see if there are any further confirmed instances or people who developed symptoms after they arrived.

Travelers arriving in the Philippines through these planes should contact the Department of Health’s Covid-19 hotlines at (02) 8942 6843 or 1555, or their local government units, to report their status.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), has urged the public not to underestimate the Omicron variation, saying it is “growing at a rate we have not seen with any previous variety.”

Omicron has already been reported in 77 nations, and “the fact is that Omicron is probably in most countries, even if it hasn’t been recognized yet,” according to Tedros.

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