DOH: PH still categorized as 'low risk' for COVID-19, but uptick in new cases seen

Published July 23, 2021, 12:16 PM

by Analou de Vera

Manila Bulletin File Photo

The Philippines remains under the “low-risk” classification for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) but some areas are starting to see a rise in new cases amid the threat of the Delta variant, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

“Nationally, risk classification remains to be at low-risk with an average daily attack rate continuing to decrease in the recent week. However, more regions are experiencing a trend reversal to a positive two-week growth rate,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in an online forum on Friday, July 23.

The Health official said that there is a slight increase in the daily new cases.

“Cases from July 16 to 22 recorded 5,666 cases per day, an increase of 626 cases per day compared to the previous week of 5,040 cases,” she said.

Vergeire said that variants of concern have contributed to the spike in cases. Aside from Delta, the health authorities also detected the presence of Alpha, Beta, and Gamma variants of coronavirus.

“The detection of the variants of concern can be correlated with the case spikes that we are experiencing. We need to continually strengthen border control,” she said.

Metro Manila is seeing an upward trend in new COVID-19 cases, said Vergeire.

“There is a need to identify the causes for this increase in cases in these local governments to preserve the gains achieved in the past two months,” she said.

The National Capital Region (NCR)-plus areas are also experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases. These include Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite.

“After a slow decline in the past weeks, the case trend in the National Capital Region Plus areas is showing an increase in the recent week,” said Vergeire, adding that Cavite and Bulacan have the “fastest increase.”

“Visayas is showing an upward trend in the number of cases, while Mindanao has a slight increase this week, and the case trend in the rest of Luzon is plateauing,” said Vergeire.

She noted that they have yet to observe a “surge” in COVID-19 cases for now.

When asked if there is a need to place the areas experiencing a spike in cases to stricter quarantine classification, Vergeire answered: “When we try to revert, this will be because it is anticipatory.”

“Wala pa tayong nakikita ngayon (We do not see yet) that objective basis that we will be announcing that there is already this surge,” said Vergeire.

“Maari tayong dumating diyan sa pagtaas ng mga kaso pero sa ngayon hindi pa natin nakikita iyan. Kaya nga tayo patuloy na naghahanda para maprevent natin kung sakali na hindi naman tumaas ng husto ang mga kaso sa bansa (There is a possibility that we are going to experience a surge in cases but so far we have not seen that. That is why we continue to prepare so that we can manage our cases),” she added.

Vergeire called on the public to be careful and avoid spreading misinformation about COVID-19.

“Kailangan maging maingat sa pagbibigay impormasyon sa ating mga kababayan. Sa ngayon, takot na takot na ang ating mga kababayan, huwag na po natin dagdagan (We must be careful in providing information to our citizens. Right now, many are very scared, let’s not cause more fear),” she said.