DoH says no need to panic over slight increase in COVID cases 

PEOPLE take an evening stroll and hang out at the Luneta Park in Manila on Nov. 28. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN 

THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH) on Tuesday assured the public that last week’s slight uptick in coronavirus cases is not a cause for concern as all regions are still considered at low risk of the disease.  

“We have been monitoring every day the positivity rate and other COVID-19 cases which is 6% higher than the previous two weeks we have,” Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told a forum streamed live on YouTube.  

“We know that cases might increase but as long as our hospitals are manageable and if most cases are not severe, we don’t need to panic.”  

She reiterated that existing vaccines remain effective against the emerging variants that have entered the country.  

The Philippines recorded 8,292 new coronavirus infections from Dec. 5 to 11, the DoH said in a bulletin on Monday.   

There were 1,158 cases tallied on Sunday, bringing the total caseload to 4.05 million.  

The country had detected a total of 17 total infections of the highly contagious Omicron subvariant BQ.1, Data from the DoH on Dec. 6 showed.  

The nationwide positivity rate on Monday was at 12.4%, according to a bulletin posted Monday evening on Twitter by Fredegusto P. David, a fellow from the OCTA Research Group.  

Philippine health experts have said a spike in coronavirus infections was likely during the holidays with more lenient restrictions.  

Daily infections could hit 1,114 to 2,294 by the end of December, while active cases could reach 18,000, DoH Epidemiology Bureau director Alethea R. de Guzman said last week, citing increased mobility, social gatherings and eased restrictions. 

The Philippines would continue to have low COVID-19-related deaths as long as vaccination and boosting rates are pushed, Edsel Maurice T. Salvaña, a member of DoH’s technical advisory group, told a televised briefing last month. 

“Even if we see an increase in cases, most of them will likely be mild and won’t be needing hospitalizations,” he said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez 

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