MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reported 29 new cases of the Omicron variant detected from the 48 samples sequenced last January 2.

In a joint statement with the University of the Philippines - Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) and the University of the Philippines - National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) the DOH also reported 18 cases positive for the Delta variant while one had no lineage assigned.

The agencies noted that the latest sequencing run was composed of samples from 19 returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and 29 local cases from areas with case clusters.

"The 29 Omicron variant cases are composed of 10 ROFs and 19 local cases with indicated addresses in the National Capital Region (NCR), bringing the total number of confirmed Omicron variant cases to 43," the DOH said.

Of the 19 local cases, 14 are still active while three have been tagged as recovered. There are two cases whose outcomes are still being verified.

The DOH said it is verifying the test results and health status of all passengers of these flights to determine if there are other confirmed cases or passengers who became symptomatic after arrival.

Of the additional 18 Delta variant cases, eight were ROFs. The ten local cases also had NCR as their indicated address.

This update brings the total number of confirmed Delta variant cases to 8,497.

The DOH encouraged eligible individuals, especially senior citizens, individuals with comorbidities, and children to get vaccinated and boosted immediately.

“Vaccines are still our best defense and proven to be safe, effective, and free. Let’s not be agents of transmission and prevent further spread of the virus as more transmission means more mutations,” it said.

It also reminded the public to isolate immediately and do the right test at the right time at the earliest signs of symptoms. (PNA)