The Philippines reported 81 infections of the Covid-19 Omicron XBB subvariant and 193 cases of the XBC variant, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a press briefing that the 81 cases of XBB were found in Western Visayas and Davao Region.

Among the said number, 70 have already recovered; eight are still undergoing isolation, while the status of the three others are still being verified.

The health department earlier said that the XBB sublineage “shows higher immune evasion ability than BA.5.” It is also under the Omicron subvariants being monitored by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with BA.5, BA.2.75, BJ.1, BA.4.6, and BA.2.3.20.

Meanwhile, Vergeire explained that the Omicron XBB subvariant has been causing the Covid-19 spikes in Singapore and other countries. She stressed, however, that there is no available evidence yet to prove that the new variant causes severe symptoms.

“Mula po sa Singapore Ministry of Health, wala pa pong sapat na ebidensya ang magpapatunay na nagdudulot ng mas malubhang sakit ang panibagong subvariant na ito,” she said. — Ronald Espartinez