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DOH: No weak surge yet despite 4-month high COVID new cases

The Philippines logged 770 fresh COVID-19 cases Friday, the highest daily tally since March 7, data from the Department of Health (DPH) showed.

The number of people currently positive for the coronavirus stood at 6,068, the highest since May 1.

This is the highest number of cases logged in a single week in 13 weeks, or since the week of March 14 to 20 when 3,481 cases were reported.

The country’s total confirmed cases climbed to 3,699,251.

Of the additional cases reported Thursday, 322 are from Metro Manila, the DOH said.

The positivity rate—or the percentage of people who test positive for the virus—from June 19 to 22 is at 4.7 percent.

The total number of COVID-related deaths in the country has reached 60,495 after 11 new deaths were confirmed.

Total recoveries stood at 3,632,491.

From June 13 to 19, the country recorded an average of 436 cases per day, the DOH said. The tally was 82 percent higher than infections from June 6 to 12, the agency said.

Despite the rise in new cases, the DOH dismissed OCTA Research Group’s statement that there was a “weak surge” in infections. Most of the infections were mild to moderate and did not need hospitalization, the DOH said.

The DOH, however, warned that active cases could reach 7,500 by the second half of July if compliance to minimum health protocols declines and booster uptake remains low.

The Philippine Genome Center has detected 16 more cases of highly transmissible omicron subvariants BA.5 and BA.2.12.1, the DOH said Wednesday.

More than 70 million people in the Philippines have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Saturday.

Metro Manila and dozens of other areas will stay under COVID-19 Alert Level 1 until the end of June, Malacañang said, even as the capital region recorded a rise in new infections.

Under Alert 1, all indoor establishments and public transport may operate at 100 percent capacity, but only for those with full vaccination status.

Authorities continue to remind the public to follow minimum health protocols, especially wearing of face masks.

OCTA on Friday said the positivity rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila rose to 5.6 percent on June 22, up from 3.9 percent on June 18.

In Quezon City, the local government said the average daily COVID cases rose to 50 from 32 last week, citing data from OCTA Research.

It added that the city’s positivity rate also increased to 4 percent from 3 percent. But the QC Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit said the hospital utilization rate in the LGU is only at a little over 30 percent, far from the 50 percent to 70 percent needed to be considered a moderate risk for COVID-19.

More hospitals in Metro Manila started rolling out third COVID jabs to immunocompromised minors 12-17 years old on Thursday. These include Ospital ng Maynila, and Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City.

National Vaccination Operations Center Chairperson Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said hospitals outside Metro Manila may begin administering additional doses to eligible immunocompromised minors as soon as they’re ready.

In other developments:

• OCTA said there is no need to escalate the alert level status of the country or impose any lockdowns, despite the rise in COVID-19 infections.

• Senator Sherwin Gatchalian urged local government units and schools to prepare for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots among minors aged 12 to 17. He issued the call following the Department of Health’s approval of using the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose for the 12-17 age group.

• Senator Christopher Go warned that raising the alert level status in Metro Manila would hurt businesses and urged the government to strike a careful balance between health and economic concerns.


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