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MANILA, Jan 6 (Mabuhay) –The Philippines on Thursday detected 29 more cases of the more transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 43.

Of the new cases, the Department of Health (DOH) said 10 were returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) while 19 were local cases with indicated addresses in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Meanwhile, 15 of the local cases are still active, three have recovered, while two are still being verified.

“The DOH is verifying the test results and health status of all passengers of these flights to determine if there are other confirmed cases or passengers who became symptomatic after arrival,” the DOH said in a statement.

The latest run sequenced 48 samples on January 2, 2022.

Health officials see Omicron as the reason behind the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.

The DOH, meanwhile, also reported 18 additional cases of the highly contagious Delta variant, bringing the total to 8,497.

Eight of these were ROFs and 19 are local cases had addresses indicated in NCR.

Due to this, the DOH again called on eligible individuals, especially senior citizens, those with comorbidities, and children, to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Vaccines are still our best defense and proven to be safe, effective, and free. Let’s not be agents of transmission and prevent further spread of the virus as more transmission means more mutations,” it said.

“At the earliest signs of symptoms, remember to isolate immediately and do the right test at the right time… Let’s keep our guards on for Omicron.” it added.

The DOH on Wednesday documented 10,775 more COVID-19 infections, increasing the country’s total tally to 2,871,745.

Of the 10,775 fresh cases, 10,688 (99%) occurred within the recent 14 days or from December 23, 2021, to January 5, 2022, the DOH said.

“The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were NCR (7,420 or 69%), Region 4-A (1,719 or 16%) and Region 3 (798 or 7%),” it said.

Amid the sharp increase in cases, the government placed the NCR, as well as the provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal and Laguna under Alert Level 3 until January 15, 2022.

Under Alert Level 3, several establishments will be allowed to operate at 30% indoor venue capacity only for fully vaccinated individuals and 50% outdoor venue capacity, provided that all employees are fully vaccinated.

Face-to-face classes, contact sports, funfairs/perya, and casinos are among the activities and establishments that are prohibited under Alert Level 3. (MNS)

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