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COVID cases up on 3rd straight day

The country logged 1,302 new COVID-19 cases yesterday—the third consecutive day that the daily tally breached 1,000 cases, the Department of Health said.

Almost half of the fresh cases—625—were recorded in Metro Manila.

At least 13 fatalities were likewise recorded, bringing the death toll to 60,578.

But as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has yet to appoint his Health secretary, there will be no changes in policies and in the country’s COVID-19 response.

Data analysts have warned COVID-19 cases went up in all regions, with some posting a growth rate of over 200 percent amid waning immunity and the presence of new variants.

“Our current pandemic response protocols continue to be implemented. Everything is status quo until new directives from our new President come in,” the DOH said in a statement.

“The country’s COVID-19 response actions, along with actions for all other non-COVID health matters, continue through senior DOH officials supervising specific bureaus, offices, and units. We await and are ready for the announcement of the next Secretary of Health,” the department added.

According to OCTA research fellow Ranjit Rye, cases increased across all regions.

“The number one reason for this is warning immunity. Number 2 is the new variants,” Rye said.

“This is the declining compliance with minimum public health standards. All of these have contributed to the rise in cases, not just in the National Capital Region but all over the country,” he added.

Metro Manila logged an average of 442 cases daily from June 25 to July 1, up by at least 52 percent from the 291 daily average from June 18 to 24.

“[But] there’s no need to lock down, there’s no need to escalate the alert levels. There is a surge. We need to take care of ourselves….We do believe in OCTA that the peak is coming soon and that cases will decline after that peak,” Rye added.

In his inaugural speech, Marcos vowed to fix the government’s shortcomings in its pandemic response, saying there will be “no more secrets” in public health but did not elaborate.

The President cited his own bout with COVID-19, saying he was among the first in the country who got infected with the coronavirus.

He said his administration will fix the shortcomings “out in the open.”

He also vowed that the Philippines will not be “caught unprepared, under-equipped, and understaffed to fight the next pandemic.”

“To start with, we never got over the pandemic of poor, if any, free public health. The last major upgrade of our public health system exemplified by the resources poured into PGH predates the current shambles by three generations,” the new President said, referring to the Philippine General Hospital.

Marcos mentioned how medical workers seek opportunities abroad because the Philippines “cannot pay them for the same risks and workload that we have back here.”

Former Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje earlier said Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire will be among the officials who will stay in the agency under the new administration.

Vergeire, an undersecretary and a career executive service officer (CESO) II, is also the head of the National Vaccination Operations Center.

Meanwhile, the DOH said manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines to be used for children before 5 years old have not yet applied for Emergency Use Authorization before the Food and Drug Administration.

“This initiative will still have to be stringently reviewed and studied by regulatory institutions and our panel of experts before consideration for implementation,” the DOH said.

The DOH and the NVOC are currently ramping up the vaccine rollout to priority groups as well as to areas and age groups with a high number of unvaccinated individuals, and to those yet to receive their first booster.

 

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