MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has detected 70 additional cases of fast-spreading Omicron BA.5, BA.2.12.1, and BA.4 subvariants, the Department of Health said.

Of the total, 43 were BA.5 cases, 20 were BA.2.12.1 cases, and four were BA.4 cases.

Sixty-five of those Omicron subvariant cases are local, the health department said.

In total, there were 190 cases testing positive for the Omicron variant of concern and all of its sublineages out of the 211 samples sequenced by Philippine Genome Center from June 29 to July 4. 

The Philippines is facing another increase in COVID-19 cases, which is fueled by the presence of more transmissible variants with immune escape characteristics. Cases are also rising amid waning vaccine immunity of the public and increased mobility.

Latest data from the DOH showed that the national weekly positivity rate increased to 6.8%. The World Health Organization recommends that the proportion of COVID-19 tests coming back positive should remain below 5% to ensure that the spread of the virus is under control.

Metro Manila showed the “steepest” increase in infections, exceeding 500 cases per day.

Despite the renewed spike in infections, the total hospital bed utilization nationwide remained at low risk, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

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