DOH WARNING: Covid-19 cases start to peak in NCR, other areas

PASSENGERS being checked for COVID-19

By Claire Morales True

MANILA – Metro Manila has recorded a “sharp rise” in new COVID-19 cases while the rest of Luzon and the Visayas have also shown an increase, prompting Malacañang to remind citizens to continue observing minimum public health standards.

“Wear your masks, social distancing, wash your hands,” outgoing Communications Secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar said in Malacanang.

Andanar noted that it is difficult to avoid crowds nowadays since all establishments in areas under Alert Level 1 are now allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity as long as proof of full vaccination is presented.

“You just really have to be careful, drink your vitamins, eat healthy, don’t stay up late, and sleep long,” he added.

At the same time, the Department of Health has detected 32 additional cases of Omicron BA.5 subvariant,  21 of which are from Western Visayas, four from Calabarzon, four from the National Capital Region and three

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 30 of the new cases are fully vaccinated and one is partially vaccinated.

Noting an uptick of cases, Vergeire said the DOH recorded a total of 3,051 new Covid-19 cases from June 13 to June 19, which is 82 percent higher than cases reported the previous week.

She said Metro Manila recorded the most cases in the past two weeks with 2,194 infections followed by nearby provinces in Calabarzon (659), Western Visayas (375), Central Luzon (324) and Central Visayas (183).

Vergerie, however, assured that the country remains under low risk classification for Covid-19, especially in Metro Manila which some predicted could be placed under the stricter Alert Level 2 from Alert Level 1.

Vergeire said 3,198 new cases have been logged from June 14 to 20 nationwide.

The country’s average daily attack rate is less than one per 100,000 population.

Despite more infections, healthcare utilization rate nationwide remains at a “low risk” with regions’ bed occupancy rate ranging from 14.61 percent to 17.82 percent, Vergeire said.

“What would be most important would be nakikita natin there’s this continued increase in cases, hindi sumasabay ang severe and critical cases,” she added.

OCTA Research fellow Guido David earlier projected that Metro Manila could see a peak in infections during the first two weeks of July.

He said Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila could reach 1,000 per day by the end of the month or early next month. 

COVID-19 variants Delta and Omicron, and subvariants such as BA.5 and BA.2.12.1 have been detected in the country, Vergerie said.

The worst situation that could happen is the infections increasing significantly as immediate as the third week of July, she said although some experts ruled this out, claiming the worse could come much later.

If there is no variant of concern pestering the country and health protocols are followed, Vergerie said infections may peak by October.