MANILA, Philippines — Local transmission of the new COVID-19 Omicron subvariants XBB and XBC was confirmed yesterday by the Department of Health (DOH), citing how the cases have spread through several regions.
“Definitely, there is local transmission because all of these are local cases. This means we can’t associate or link them to travels outside of the country or those with exposure to someone who had recently traveled outside of the Philippines,” Dr. Alethea de Guzman, DOH Epidemiology Bureau director, told a media forum.
In addition, data support that there is localized community transmission for the new variants of concern.
“As to the XBB subvariant, several of the cases were found in Region 6 (Western Visayas) and these can’t be linked to each one, meaning they have no connection as to the time or place – that is why we are saying that there is localized community transmission,” she said.
For XBC, there is initial evidence to support localized community transmission for Regions 11 (Davao) and 12 (Soccsksargen), said De Guzman.
“We have detected several cases there and just like with XBB in Region 6, they are not linked with each other but in the other regions,” she said.
“We can’t say yet if it is a nationwide or wide-scale community transmission. But whether there is evidence or not of a large-scale community transmission, our actions would always be with the assumption that there is already community transmission taking place, that is why we enhance our response activities from the national down to the local