2023 April 26
MANILA – The country’s first case of XBB.1.16 Omicron subvariant called Arcturus in Iloilo province was asymptomatic and has been tagged as recovered.
In a Viber message to reporters on Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) noted that the Arcturus subvariant is a sublineage of the Omicron, which has the ability to evade immunity and is said to be more transmissible.
The first case of XBB.1.16 Omicron subvariant was recorded in the DOH’s latest biosurveillance report released Tuesday night.
The agency said no changes in severity have been reported in countries where XBB.1.16 are reported to be in circulation, citing the latest risk assessment by the World Health Organization last April 17.
“There may have been slight increases in bed occupancy in India and Indonesia, but levels are still much lower compared to the effects of the previous variants. Overall, risk assessment is said to be low,” it added.
The public is reminded to continuously adhere to layers of protection such as wearing masks, isolating when sick, and ensuring good airflow especially when mobile in public places.
The public is also encouraged to get vaccinated and boosted as vaccination remains to be the most effective and best long-term protection against the Covid-19 virus.
Ma. Teresa Montemayor (PNA)