By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

PNA file

MANILA – Four of the eight Filipino travelers from China who tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) were infected with two Omicron subvariants, a health official said on Friday.

During an online townhall meeting, Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau Director Dr. Alethea de Guzman reported three were infected with BF.7 while one was infected with BA.5.2.

“Ito ‘yung mga hindi bagong variants. Dati na nating ‘tong mga nade-detect (These variants are not new. We have been detecting these before),” she said. 

Omicron Subvariants (Screengrab from Zoom Meeting)

The samples of the other four travelers did not have an assigned lineage.

“Minsan pagka-transport nade-degrade ‘yung quality ng specimen kaya hindi natin ma-sequence (Sometimes, the quality of the specimen degrades during transport and so we’re unable to sequence them),” de Guzman said.

Earlier, the World Health Organization said BF.7 and BA.5.2 are driving the recent wave of Covid-19 infections in China.

On Dec. 27, 2022 to Jan. 2, 2023, the eight Filipino travelers from China entered the country. They are all unvaccinated and tested positive via antigen screening upon their arrival at the airport.

They had 89 close contacts and only one of these contacts manifested Covid-19 symptoms. (PNA)