Terminal 1 NAIA Manila Airport
A scene at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The Philippines has reopened its borders to international visitors from February 10, 2022. File photo. Image Credit: Gulf News / Jay Hilotin

Manila: The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) has detected a local transmission of the highly-transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Tuesday (May 17, 2022).

Omicron is the most evolved variant of SARS-CoV-2, according to experts.

“We have reported the detection of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 last week, we are here to tell you that there is already a local transmission of this subvariant of Omicron in the country,” Vergeire said in Tagalog a forum.

“It means that the cases we have detected are not connected with the cases that came from outside the country but we can still see the linkages of the detected cases,” she added.

The Asian country has recorded a total of 2,210 cases during the period from May 3 to 16, 2022, and has tallied 3.69 million cases, resulting in 60,458 deaths since the COVID-19 pandemic's start.

Vergeire, however, stressed that there is no community transmission detected yet.

To date, there are 17 BA.2.12.1 cases in the country — 16 are local cases while one is from a returning overseas Filipino currently residing in Western Visayas.