Test tubes labelled "COVID-19 Test Positive" are seen in front of displayed words "OMICRON SARS-COV-2" in this illustration taken December 11, 2021. 

MANILA (The Philippine Star) — The Philippines has detected its fourth case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in a traveler who arrived from the United States, the Department of Health said on Monday.

The 38-year-old woman arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on December 10 via Philippine Airlines PR127, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

Vergeire said the patient had throat itchiness and colds by December 13. She was discharged from a government facility on December 24 after 10 days in isolation.

Currently, the individual is asymptomatic and isolated at home. She is rescheduled to be re-tested.

“The detection of Omicon cases remains to be among international arrivals. Its entry is inevitable and we want to further delay its entry to ensure that local health systems are ready,” Vergeire said.

The heavily mutated Omicron variant has been classified as being “of concern” by the World Health Organization.

Early studies suggest that Omicron is more infectious than the already transmissible Delta variant.

In the Philippines, the Delta variant remains the most common, accounting for 42.43% of the 19,922 samples with lineage.

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