Remain vigilant despite low Covid-19 cases, says DOH

Shoppers flock along Ylaya in Divisoria Market on Oct. 17, 2021 at a time when Metro Manila was under alert level 3. (Photo by Ali Vicoy)

Filipinos were reminded of the importance of continued vigilance amid the low number of new Covid-19 cases in the country.

Right now, the country is “continuously having this decline in cases,” said Department of Health (DOH) Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“Dapat pa rin ang ating mga kababayan should be vigilant, cautious, and dapat maproteksyunan pa rin natin ang ating mga sarili (Our citizens should still be vigilant, cautious, and should still protect themselves),” she said in a press briefing on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

The Philippines only recorded 36 new cases of Covid-19 last Sunday, Feb. 5, said Vergeire. It was the lowest number of cases in a single-day since March 20, 2020.

“Of course nakakatuwa na bumabalik tayo sa mga ganoong numero. Pero kailangan cautious din tayo sa pag interpret ng numero na ito (Of course, we’re happy that we are returning to such numbers. But we also need to be cautious in interpreting this number),” she said.

“Marami sa ating mga kababayan (Many of our citizens), do not have themselves tested anymore. Marami sa ating mga kababayan (Many of our people), they use antigen tests,” she added.

To note, the test results using antigen tests are not yet included in the DOH’s official tally of Covid-19 cases. Only included in the tally are results using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

However, Vergeire noted that the healthcare utilization rate remains at low-risk, proving that there really is a decrease in infections.

“All our hospitals have manageable cases, hindi po tayo napupuno and I think that's a reflection na tuloy-tuloy na talaga na bumababa at nagiging manageable ang kaso ng Covid sa ating bansa (they are not full and I think that's a reflection that the number of Covid cases in our country is really decreasing and becoming manageable),” she said.

Covid-19 comparable to flu?

Meanwhile, the health official reminded the public that Covid-19 is different from influenza, although they have similarities in terms of symptoms.

“We need to be very cautious in telling people that it is already comparable to the flu,” said Vergeire.

“We know that pag ang Covid-19 ay tumama sa mga vulnerable sector: matatanda o may comorbidities, maaring mag cause pa rin ng severe at critical na mga infection at maari pa rin ikamatay ng ating mga kababayan (when Covid-19 hits the vulnerable sectors such as the elderly or those with comorbidities, it can still cause severe and critical infections and our citizens can still die from it),” she added.