MANILA, Apr 5 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it is in constant coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding XE, a possible new coronavirus variant linked to the more transmissible Omicron.

“The DOH is in constant coordination with WHO regarding the reported ‘Omicron XE’ detected in Bangkok, Thailand,” the DOH said in a message to reporters.

“Observation and monitoring are still ongoing on whether the variant would be categorized as a sub-variant of Omicron or a new variant to be named by WHO should it display any significant change in characteristics,” the agency said in a message to reporters.

The XE recombinant is a mutant of the BA.1 and the BA.2 sub-variants of Omicron, according to WHO.

WHO said XE belongs to the Omicron variant until “significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported.”

Meanwhile, the DOH said it is also continuously monitoring case trends with the assistance of the Philippine Genome Center.

“In this light, the DOH reminds the public that vaccines, in addition to adhering to the minimum public health standards and now, more importantly, everyone, especially our elderly, the immunocompromised, those with comorbidities, and children are highly encouraged to get vaccinated and boosted,” it said.

The Philippines has logged a total of 3,679,629 confirmed cases, of which 35,967 remain active.  (MNS)

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