PEOPLE in face masks attended a mass infant baptism in Mabuting Pastol Parish in Commonwealth village, Quezon City on Oct. 23. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

Philippine health authorities on Tuesday confirmed the local transmission of a more contagious Omicron subvariant that has become dominant in the US.

“There’s local transmission of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 in specific areas in the country,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said at a televised news briefing.

She said local governments were now boosting a four-door strategy that involves border controls and basic containment strategies to contain the Omicron subvariant that isabout 20% more infectious than BA.2, the dominant subvariant of Omicron in the Philippines.

The fourth phase of the strategy involves ensuring that the country’s healthcare capacity is ready for a surge in infections.

BA.2.12.1 can evade immune protections and is highly transmissible, according to health experts. The Philippines has detected 17 cases of the subvariant, 16 of which were locally acquired while one was a returning Filipino who lives in central Philippines. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza