The Department of Health said Monday it was coordinating with the World Health Organization regarding "omicron XE" as it urged Filipinos to keep following COVID safety protocols.
"Omicron XE", a hybrid of the omicron sublineages BA.1 and BA.2 or stealth omicron, was first detected in the UK on Jan. 19 and is 10% more transmissible than BA.2 based on early-day estimates, the WHO said. As of March 29, the WHO has confirmed about 600 cases.
Thailand recorded its first case of the omicron XE on Saturday, according to reports citing the country's public health commission. The lone case has since recovered after developing mild symptoms, reports said.
The DOH said it was "continuously monitoring case trends" with regards to new variants together with the Philippine Genome Center.
The WHO has yet to determine if "omicron XE" would be categorized as a different omicron subvariant or an entirely new variant "should it display any significant change in characteristics," said DOH.
The subvariant stealth omicron is currently the most dominant variant globally, representing nearly 86% of all sequenced cases, according to the WHO.