Covid-19 cases in PH may increase to over 500 per day amid new Omicron subvariant threat—expert

Published May 19, 2022, 2:25 PM

by Analou de Vera

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There is a possibility that the number of Covid-19 cases each day in the Philippines could increase to more than 500 due to the more transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1, an infectious disease specialist said.

Covid-19 cases may increase in areas with low vaccination rate, said Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of the Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Unit at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.

“Sa rate ng transmissibility nitong bagong variant (With the transmissibility rate of this new variant), it’s more transmissible than the original Omicron variant,” said Solante in a public briefing.

“Now, if this will occur, especially in regions na talagang mababa ang vaccination rate, siguro mas mahihigitan pa natin ang mga 500 na nakikita natin (with really low vaccination rates, maybe we will be able to surpass the 500 [cases] we saw) before; and that’s what we’re going to monitor,” he added.

Currently, the average number of Covid-19 cases nationwide per day is at 157, based on the recent data of the Department of Health (DOH).

Solante, however, noted that such a number will not affect the country’s healthcare utilization rate.

“Malaki ang posibilidad niyan na medyo tataas ang kaso (There is a big possibility that the cases will slightly increase), but I don’t think it will be enough to affect our hospitalization rate,” he said.

The essential keys to prevent the possible rise in cases are still the same: strictly follow the health protocols and vaccination, said Solante.

“Hindi natin ibababa ang pag-comply sa health protocols, especially the wearing of the face mask in crowded areas, in poorly ventilated rooms or in areas na talagang you are not so sure kung mayroong risk of exposure, at ang pangalawa, iyong paghugas ng kamay (We should not lower our compliance with health protocols, especially the wearing of the face mask in crowded areas, in poorly ventilated rooms, or in areas where you are really not so sure if there is a risk of exposure; and secondly, frequent handwashing),” he said.

“And then, of course, isa sa importante diyan ay you get your booster na rin para at least may dagdag kang proteksiyon (one of the important things is that you get your booster so that at least you have an added protection),” he added.