MANILA, May 23 (Mabuhay) –The Philippine health system could again be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients given the detection of the new Omicron subvariant, but officials noted that it is likely not as deadly as others.

According to National Task Force Against COVID-19 adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa, the subvariant could impact individuals with comorbidities.

“Dahil mabilis siyang kumalat, siyempre ang puwedeng mapuno ‘yung ating mga ospital, kaya nakabantay kami,” he said.

“Although hindi siya nakakamatay kagaya nung Delta, hindi siya deadly, pero napaka-transmissible siya, may tatamaan din na mahina—yung lolo o lola, o ‘yung may sakit na diabetes,” he continued.

The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday reported that a Filipino who flew in from the Middle East earlier this month was found to be infected with the subvariant. He was asymptomatic.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) considers the Omicron BA.4 as a variant of concern, indicating that it can either spread faster or cause worse illness.

For his part, OCTA Research fellow Guido David warned that the subvariant could cause another surge.

“‘Yung concern natin, baka mag-cause siya siyempre ng surge o pagdami ng bilang ng kaso,” he said.

“Mas nakakahawa siya, pero dahil meron pa rin naman tayong wall of immunity kahit papaano, mas mahihirapan siyang kumalat. Ganon ‘yung nakita natin sa South Africa na ‘yung reproduction number niya, umabot lang ng 2 pero original Omicron, umabot ng 4 ang reproduction number,” he added. (MNS)

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