FOUR of the eight Filipinos from China who tested positive for the coronavirus upon their arrival were found to have been carrying Omicron subvariants that have been driving the latest surge in cases in the said country.

In a virtual press briefing, DOH-Epidemiology Bureau Director Dr Alethea de Guzman said there were four Filipinos from China that tested positive for the Omicron subvariants BA.5.2 and BF.7.

“Though we have eight positive cases, only four were assigned lineages,” said de Guzman.

“Three turned out as BF.7 while the other one is BA.5.2,” she added.

China’s recent Covid-19 outbreak is predominantly led by the Omicron subvariants BA.5.2 and BF.7.

This after the two subvariants accounted for 97.5 percent of all local infections subjected to genome sequencing.

As for the other four samples, de Guzman said there were no lineages assigned to their samples.

“There are times when, during transport, the quality of the specimens are degraded. Thus, we can no longer sequence them properly,” de Guzman said.

Last week, the DOH reported that there were eight Filipinos who arrived from China between December 27, 2022 and January 2, 2023 that tested positive for the coronavirus.

Their arrivals came amid the heightened alert in the Philippines on travelers from China, where Covid-19 cases have been on a rapid surge recently. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)