Department of Health (DOH)–Technical Advisory Group member Dr. Edsel Salvaña (Presidential Photo)

MANILA – Department of Health (DOH)–Technical Advisory Group member Dr. Edsel Salvaña said Monday the number of Covid-19 cases remains manageable and there is no indication yet of a rise due to campaign rallies and the entry of the new Omicron subvariant.

"Right now, the numbers remain manageable. And even if the numbers do go up to several thousand, dahil sa mataas na antas ng pagbabakuna, iyong (because of high vaccination rate, the) number of people who actually developed severe disease remained slow,” Salvaña said in a televised Laging Handa briefing.

Earlier, the DOH detected the first cases of Omicron BA.2.12.1 subvariant in the National Capital Region and Palawan.

The country would not go back to lockdowns like what happened in 2020 when the population did not have immunity yet against Covid-19, he said.

However, fully vaccinated persons need to receive their boosters for an added layer of protection.

“At least one booster lang muna, 'yon naman talaga iyong pinapayagan sa ngayon, malaking tulong iyan para ma-prevent natin any future surges. And even if mag-surge man, mananatiling mababa 'yung number of people who have severe disease and mananatiling bukas ang ating mga ospital (At least one booster since that’s the only one allowed, for now, that’s a big help in preventing future surges. In case of surges, the number of people who have severe disease will remain low and the hospitals remain open),” Salvaña said.

Preliminary data about the BA.2.12.1 subvariant show it is 20 to 30 percent more transmissible compared to the original Omicron variant.

There are no data yet which indicate that it causes more severe diseases.

Salvaña noted that BA.2.12.1 cases in the country are mild and mostly asymptomatic.

“For now, ang nakikita natin ay hindi naman siya nagti-takeover. Nakikita pa rin natin karamihan dito sa Pilipinas iyong BA.2, at paminsan-minsan ay nagpapakita pa rin iyong Delta (we see that it has not taken over. We see that most cases in the Philippines are BA.2 and we still see Delta [cases] at times),” he said.

He added that available Covid-19 vaccines in the country remain effective against Omicron BA.2.12.1 and other circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2. (PNA)