The Philippines reported its first three local cases of the Omicron variant as per an announcement by acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles.
Two of the patients in question are from Bicol: a 27-year-old female and a 46-year-old male who tested positive on December 14 and 15 respectively. The other patient is a 42-year-old male from Metro Manila who was found to be positive on December 3.
Although all three patients have since recovered, authorities continue to trace their close contacts.
Seven additional imported cases of the Omicron variant have also been detected of which six are returning overseas Filipinos and one is a Malaysian national.
Three of the cases arrived from the United States via Philippine Airlines flight PR 103 and PR 127 on December 15 and 16 respectively. Two arrived from the United Kingdom via connecting flights of Emirates Airlines flight EK 332 and Singapore Airlines flight SQ 910 on December 9 and 15 respectively. One case arrived from the United Arab Emirates via Philippine Airlines flight PR 659 on December 19 and the last arrived from Ghana through a connecting flight of Qatar Airways flight QR 930 on December 14.
Dr. Guido David of private polling, research, and consultation firm OCTA Research previously pointed out that the COVID-19 positivity and reproduction rate was rising in recent days. As per OCTA Research, the COVID-19 reproduction rate in Metro Manila has risen to 2.19 compared to 0.85 just four days ago.
The Philippines reported 2,961 new COVID-19 cases today after reporting 1,623 new cases yesterday to end a month of sub-1,000 daily COVID-19 cases.