The Department of Health (DOH) said Friday that the recently reported passenger with monkeypox on board a Philippine Airlines flight bound for Hong Kong is not a Filipino.
In a press briefing, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the passenger is a foreign national.
“The only data they gave us was that they said he is a foreign national. We need to confirm through an official report to us by the Ministry of Hong Kong. One thing I can assure our Filipinos that he is not a Filipino,” she said.
The passenger had traveled from various countries including Canada and the United States before coming to the Philippines, she said. The patient, however, exhibited the symptoms after arriving in Hong Kong, according to the health official.
Vergeire said the DOH has identified the close contacts and are closely monitoring them.
PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna earlier said that the passenger was on board PR300 last September 5.
Villaluna also advised passengers on the said flight to monitor their health condition and seek medical attention if they are experiencing symptoms.
Meanwhile, the DOH said more than 1,000 to over 5,000 new COVID-19 cases daily are expected in the National Capital Region starting in October if booster rates and the vaccination of seniors remained low.
Citing the new projections last Sept. 2, Vergeire said the increase of daily COVID-19 cases would continue if there will be a slow booster uptake among the senior citizens.
“We have new projections I think that was September 2, this is only from the NCR, and based on this if our slow booster uptake continues and also our vaccination for the elderly and no new variant will appear and the mobility remains and this level, we might be seeing around 1,259 to 5,375 cases per day. This may start in the beginning of October and it can continue,” she said at a press briefing.
Health officials of Hong Kong announced that its first case of monkeypox which is a 30-year-old man who had traveled into the city and showed symptoms during hotel quarantine.
In a separate data provided by the DOH, the third monkeypox case, who is a 29-year-old Filipino who also traveled to countries with confirmed monkeypox cases, is still in isolation due to lesions despite the patient’s 21st day of isolation on August 31.
The fourth monkeypox case, a 25-year-old Filipino national with no travel history to any country with confirmed monkeypox cases, is still in isolation while waiting for the patient’s “scabs to fall off.”
Meanwhile, the DOH reported some 467 additional cases of the COVID-19 Omicron subvariants in the country based on the latest sequencing
result from September 5 to 7.
Based on the data released by the DOH on Friday, at least 425 cases of BA.5 Omicron subvariant have been detected.
Of these cases, 214 came from Western Visayas, 146 from Davao Region, 21 from Soccsksargen, 19 from Calabarzon, nine from National Capital Region (NCR) seven from Central Visayas, five from Central Luzon, two from Northern Mindanao, and one each from BARMM and Caraga.
The DOH also logged 10 new cases of BA.4, of which seven came from Central Visayas, two from Soccsksargen, and one from Northern Mindanao.
One individual from the Davao Region tested positive for the BA.2.75 variant. The DOH said at least six cases from “other sublineages” were also detected. It added that 25 cases from “no assigned lineage” were also recorded.
The BA.4 and BA.5 were added to the World Health Organization’s monitoring list in March and designated as variants of concern by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante earlier said that BA.2.75 may be more transmissible compared to other subvariants and may have the capability to evade current COVID-19 vaccines.