Philippines confirms community transmission of Omicron, cases hit record

"We are seeing community transmission of the Omicron variant in the capital region," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said

  
A health worker inoculates a colleague with a booster shot of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine as the government begins to provide them to front-liners, at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, November 17, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

A health worker inoculates a colleague with a booster shot of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine as the government begins to provide them to front-liners, at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, November 17, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

MANILA  - The Philippine health ministry confirmed the local spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant around Manila on Saturday, as infections hit a record high for a third straight day.

"We are seeing community transmission of the Omicron variant in the capital region," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a public briefing.

The region is an urban sprawl of 16 cities home to more than 13 million people.

The community transmission of the Omicron variant is characterised by a steep rise in cases, Vergeire said, adding that infections may peak from the end of this month to mid-February.

The ministry reported 39,004 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, while active cases also hit a record, at 280,813.

With more than 3.16 million cases and nearly 53,000 deaths, the Philippines has the highest COVID-19 infections and casualties in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by William Mallard) ((neiljerome.morales@thomsonreuters.com; +632 8841 8914;))


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