MANILA - A 'steep' rise in COVID-19 cases has been observed in regions aside from Metro Manila, the Department of Health said Tuesday as it urged local governments with low vaccination rate to prepare their healthcare capacity.
The top regions with new virus infections this month are the capital region, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, the Cordilleras, and Ilocos region, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
Metro Manila's neighbors Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal have experienced an increase in cases, Vergeire said. The provinces' daily virus cases increased to 1,400 in the last week of December from 153 during the first week of the same month, she added.
"Nakikita natin ang steep increase in the number of cases sa ibang rehiyon. 'Di natin masabi (We can't say) definitely or with certainty that this is omicron, but based on what we see here in NCR (National Capital Region), we’re seeing the same trend," she told reporters.
(We're seeing a steep increase in the number of cases in other regions.)
"Ang pagtaas ng kaso sa ibang rehiyon ay hindi magiging isolated case. Ito po ay nakakaapekto sa lahat ng kalapit na rehiyon. Kasama po dyan ang NCR Plus at ang kabuuang Luzon na may mas malaking pagtaas ng kaso ngayon kumpara noong Delta experience natin nung September 2021."
(The rise in cases in other regions is not an isolated case. It will affect all nearby regions. This includes NCR Plus and the entire Luzon which has experienced an increase in cases larger than what we had during the Delta experience in September 2021.)
Some 18 areas have also been placed under Alert Level 3, the third in a 5-step level.
"Ang mga may mabababang vaccination rates ay kailangan maghanda para sa kanilang hospital capacity," she said.
(Areas with low vaccination rates need to prepare their hospital capacity.)
"Eighteen out of 99 areas ang sumailalim sa Alert Level 3, karamihan sa mga ito ay may less than 40 percent vaccination rate."
(Eighteen out of 99 areas were placed under Alert Level 3, many of these areas have less than 40 percent vaccination rate.)
Areas under Alert Level 2 must also ramp up their vaccination rate, Vergeire said.
"Lahat po ng ating bakuna laban sa COVID-19 ay ligtas at epektibo," she aid.
(All of our vaccines against COVID-19 are safe and effective.)