Rising COVID cases noted in 14 areas—DOH

COVID-19 cases are rising again in 14 areas under Alert Level 1, with Cavite, Manila and Quezon City registering the highest number of new infections, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

In his report during President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the increase in the 14 areas has been gradual.

Level 1 is the most relaxed in the country’s COVID-19 alert system.

Duque’s presentation showed that the top regions with new cases from April 12 to 18 were the National Capital Region with 606; Region 4A, 226; and Region 3, 181.

For the same period, the top areas with new cases were Cavite with 101; Manila, with 92; and Quezon City, with 82.

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There were 170 new cases reported on Monday, the lowest daily tally this year and the lowest since Dec. 21, when 168 daily infections were recorded.

The Philippines’ active cases further decreased to 19,923, with the nationwide tally now at 3,683,211.

Data also shows that 664 severe and critical cases are currently admitted in hospitals due to COVID-19.

Of the 2,842 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, 450 or 15.8 percent were occupied. Meanwhile 4,164 or 16.9 percent of the 24,645 non-ICU COVID-19 beds were in use.

Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Philippines has not yet detected any case involving the “Omicron XE” or the recombinant of two sub-lineages of the more transmissible Omicron variant.

In a radio interview, she said so far, only three or four countries have detected this type of variant.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvana had explained that the Omicron XE is “more concerning” compared to other Omicron sub-variants because of its transmissibility.

However, he said it might not be more severe or affect the efficacy of the current vaccines available.

Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) member Dr. Rontgene Solante also attested to this, saying that the current vaccines could be seen working against the BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron sub-variants.

Both the DOH and the World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines have already warned that the country may experience another surge in COVID-19 infections by mid-May if the minimum public health standards are ignored.

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