The number of COVID-19 infections in the country spiked to 17,220 today, Jan. 6, according to the Department of Health, as confirmed cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, including local ones, rose to 43.
Ngayong 4 PM, Enero 6, 2022, ang Department of Health ay nakapagtala ng 17,220 na karagdagang kaso ng COVID-19. Samantala ay mayroon namang naitalang 616 na gumaling at 81 na pumanaw. pic.twitter.com/qIrNgqowPU— Department of Health (@DOHgovph) January 6, 2022
The DOH's COVID-19 bulletin showed that active COVID-19 cases are already over 56,000, as the national caseload stood at over 2.88 million. The DOH added that 91.6% of the total cases are mild and asymptomatic.
Some 616 patients have overcome the disease, pushing total recoveries to 2.78 million.
Eighty-one individuals, meanwhile, succumbed to COVID-19, bringing the death toll to above 51,700.
In a press release earlier in the day, the DOH also announced that 29 of the 48 samples it sequenced alongside the University of the Philippines's Philippine Genome Center and the National Institutes of Health last Jan. 2 were positive for the Omicron variant.
The 29 new Omicron variant cases, which account for over 60% of the samples sequenced, comprised 10 returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and 19 residents of Metro Manila.
Of the 19 local cases, the DOH said 14 cases are still active. Three of them have already recovered, while the remaining two cases are still under verification.
The country now has 43 Omicron cases on record.
The 48 samples also have 18 Delta variant cases, eight of whom are ROFs and 10 of whom have indicated addresses in the capital.
Delta variant cases are now at 8,497.
The DOH said it's still verifying the test results and health status of all the co-passengers of the ROFs.
The DOH, citing studies, said that one Omicron case can infect up to 10 people, as compared to Delta's 8.
Several local government units have reimposed Alert Level 3 in a bid to curb infections: Laguna, from Jan. 7 to 15; Rizal, Bulacan, and Cavite, from Jan. 5 to 15; and Metro Manila, from Jan. 3 to 15.
Metro Manila also barred unvaccinated residents outside, save for essential travels.
Guido David of the independent pandemic monitor OCTA Research, meanwhile, had forecast that the country's daily COVID-19 infections will peak to over 20,000 by mid-January—but will taper off toward next month akin to what happened in South Africa, where Omicron was first detected.