MANILA: On Saturday (Jan 15), the Philippine health ministry confirmed the local spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant around Manila, as infections reached a new high for the third day in a row.
“In the capital region, we are seeing community transmission of the Omicron variant,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a press conference.
The region is an urban sprawl of 16 cities with a population of over 13 million people.
The community transmission of the Omicron variant is characterized by a sharp increase in cases, according to Vergeire, who added that infections may peak between the end of this month and mid-February.
On Saturday, the ministry reported 39,004 new COVID-19 infections, while active cases reached a new high of 280,813.
After Indonesia, the Philippines has the highest COVID-19 infections and casualties in Southeast Asia, with over 3.16 million cases and nearly 53,000 deaths.