Manila Philippines mask covid
File photo shows people wearing face masks queue outside a newly reopened historical site, in Manila, Philippines, February 18, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters

Manila: The Philippines has reported 1,011 new cases of the BA.5 sub-variant and 19 cases of Omicron BA.4 sub-variant based on COVID-19 lab test data as of Tuesday (August 16).

The Department of Health (DOH) told local media that all of the country's regions have reported cases of the highly infectious BA.5 — except Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The report covers data from August 12 to 15, and is based on latest genome sequencing results of tests taken during the period.

Following are the BA.5 cases breakdown:

336: Visayas

82: National Capital Region (NCR)

79: Central Luzon

75: Calabarzon

72: Ilocos Region

70: Bicol Region

67: Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)

48: Soccksargen

44: Mimaropa

34: Northern Mindanao

27: Caraga

26: Central Visayas

25: Cagayan Valley

17: Davao Region

5: Zamboanga Peninsula

1: Eastern Visayas

3: returning overseas Filipinos


The agency also stated that of the new cases, 690 are fully vaccinated, 12 are partially vaccinated, three are unvaccinated.

The vaccination status of the remaining 306 individuals is still being verified. Their exposures and travel histories are also being verified.

There were 907 individuals who recovered, 53 are still undergoing isolation, two have died, and the outcomes of the remaining 49 are still being verified.

BA.4 cases

There were also 19 additional BA.4 cases — 12 from Soccsksargen, 3 each from Bicol Region and Western Visayas, and one from Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Of the confirmed BA.4 cases, 13 individuals are fully vaccinated, one is partially vaccinated. The vaccination status of the remaining 5 individuals is still being verified.

Five individuals have recovered, three are still undergoing isolation, and one has died.

The DOH said it was still verifying their exposures and travel histories. Last week, the health department reported 225 new cases (three Omicron subvariants — 190 cases of BA.5, 34 cases of BA.4, and 1 case BA.2.12.1) based on the genome sequencing results as of August 9.

On BA. 5 and BA. 4 subvariants

Omicron BA. 5, the current dominant coronavirus strain, may infect the same person repeatedly.

BA.5 is the most transmissible version of coronavirus yet. Those who managed to escape the virus in the past two years may not be able to get away from this version, WHO scientists warn. The Omicron sub-variant, first seen in South Africa in late February this year, is being described as “the worst version” of COVID-19.

Many countries, however, have decided to stop counting new cases and removed all COVID measures. Almost all countries have lifted a PCR test as a precondition for inbound passengers. Face mask-wearing is no longer mandatory in many countries.

The US CDC has designated both BA.5 and BA.4 as "variants of concern".