Three Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from South Africa are isolated in Negros Oriental. According to the Department of Health (DOH), the three travelers from South Africa are the first cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant detected. They do not show any symptoms upon arrival in the Philippines last November 24, 2021. However, Negros provinces are on high alert and taking extra measures for everyone’s safety.
OFWs from South Africa – No Symptoms!
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the returning overseas Filipinos arrived in the Philippines on November 24. Just a few days before the national government imposed a ban on flights coming from South Africa and several other countries due to the feared Omicron variant.
The travelers presented a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result before their arrival. They were tested upon arrival. However, their results are yet to be released.
They were immediately isolated once it was reported that they were from South Africa. Based on reports, the three are fully vaccinated, they do not have any signs and symptoms, they were just isolated for that purpose because they were from South Africa,” Vergeire said.
The national government has imposed a ban on flights coming from Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique where there were already local cases of Omicron until December 15.
What is the Omicron Variant?
The Omicron variant is currently the most mutated virus, in which spike protein is doubled than that of the Delta variant. This means it may affect vaccine efficacy and increase its transmissibility. The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa last November 9 with its first positive sample. On November 24, the first case of the Omicron variant was announced. Researchers in South Africa and around the world are conducting different studies to better understand the many aspects of the Omicron variant.
The province of Negros Occidental is taking extra measures upon the arrival of the three Filipino Overseas Workers.