CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Health authorities here confirmed Tuesday the first case of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) Omicron subvariant BA.5 in the city.

In an online press briefing, Dr. Teodoro Yu Jr., the City Health Office (CHO) medical officer, said the infected individual is a 38-year-old male seafarer from Barangay Bugo, who had traveled to Egypt and Manila.

CHO personnel immediately started contract tracing after they received the report on June 17, Yu said.

Dr. Ellenieta Gamolo, the Department of Health-Northern Mindanao (DOH-10) assistant director, said the case is also the first Omicron subvariant BA.5 detected in the region.

According to the CHO case profile, the seafarer had been swabbed at the Supercare Medical Services in Makati City on March 19 where he was confirmed positive for Covid-19.

The sample was forwarded to the Genome testing center and the result for Omicron subvariant BA.5 was released on June 13.

The infected individual, including his two first-generation close contacts, had been re-tested here on June 14 through the RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction) test, and they were all found negative for the virus.

“We will not be complacent. Our team is going for the second and third-generation close contacts. We noticed that there was already a long timeline, but we should implement extreme precautions,” Yu said.

He said the Omicron subvariant is highly transmissible but has less severity compared to the other variants of Covid-19.

Yu also reminded the public of the importance of vaccination as one of people’s protection against Covid-19. (PNA)