By James Gabriel Regondala
PHOTO: Reuters
The COVID-19 Omicron variant has arrived in Bicol, reported by the Department of Health Bicol - Center for Health Development (DOH Bicol CHD), December 31.

A 27-year-old woman from Bombon, Camarines Sur is Bicol's first Omicron case. The individual was recognized as close contact of a COVID-19 case in Manila. 

She was tested on Dec. 14 and the results came back positive on Dec. 15. The patient has no symptoms but has been tagged as recovered after being fully vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine.

A 46-year-old female teacher from Tigaon, Camarines Sur is Bicol's second case. The patient tested positive for Delta at first, but after a repeat test, the result was positive for Omicron. 

Last Nov. 16, she began to experience modest indications and symptoms. She was tagged as recovered on Dec. 6. There is no recorded history of the case traveling internationally or locally in Manila.

These two cases were among the first three local cases of the Omicron variant reported in the country. The other one is a 42-year old man from Metro Manila who tested positive on Dec. 3.

For a rapid response, the Bicol CHD is currently working with local health officials through the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (PESU) of the Camarines Sur Provincial Health Office.

The World Health Organization (WHO) identified COVID-19 B.1.1.529, commonly known as Omicron, as a “variant of concern” due to its ability to spread faster than the original COVID-19 strain.

Experts in the US said that anyone who has been infected with the Omicron variant can pass it on to others, even if they haven't been vaccinated or haven't shown any symptoms.