Covid cases in Metro Manila trending down, says DoH




The Manila Times


COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region or Metro Manila are dropping slightly, an indication that the present wave of subvariant-driven infections has reached its peak. In a media briefing on Friday, Department of Health (DoH) Officer in Charge Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that while many areas in the country were still experiencing an uptick in cases, the number of cases in most of Luzon and the Visayas had reached a plateau. Metro Manila remains under a moderate-risk classification, Vergeire said. The national daily average is 4,025 cases, or 9 percent higher than that from the previous week, and the country is still classified as low risk, she said. Cagayan Valley and the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) regions have reached their average daily attack rate (ADAR) thresholds for moderate risk, while the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region’s intensive care unit utilization rate is considered high risk, with one severe and one critical case reported. The national positivity rate rose slightly, from 18 percent to 18.5 percent, while ICU, severe and critical case admissions are up but remain below 1,000. The country also reported more than 190 BA.5, 34 BA.4 and one additional BA.2.12.1 Omicron subvariant cases. Vergeire said the country has fully vaccinated 72 million individuals. Close to 17 million have received their first booster shot, and 1.7 million their second booster. Vergeire said the DoH had proposed to the President the amending of the “Covid-19 Vaccination law” (Republic Act 11525) to allow the government’s vaccination program to continue even after the state of public health emergency is lifted in September. The Philippines will also follow the United States’ lead in relaxing Covid-19 restrictions such as quarantining and physical distancing, but at a “slower” pace, she said. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended the lifting of health measures and turning the focus to treating patients with severe and critical conditions. Vergeire said the country has been making a “shift in mindset” on how Covid-19 should be treated. “We know that the virus will stay. Ang importante lang sa ating lahat (what is important), and I think the US government has that kind of objective, to protect the most vulnerable, protect the health care system from being overwhelmed, and prevent as much as possible severe and critical cases and deaths,” she said. The US also wants to shift the responsibility of preventing Covid-19 infections from the government to the citizens, something that the Philippines was also considering, Vergeire said. She stressed that only when the wall of immunity becomes formidable enough through the administration of booster shots will the government start lifting restrictions.