MANILA — The Philippines' COVID-19 cases remain manageable and no "significant" increase in infections has been recorded, the Department of Health said Tuesday.
According to DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, the country logs an average of 133 cases daily, slightly higher compared to average cases in the past weeks.
But she emphasized that the observed increase in cases remained insignificant.
The DOH is monitoring the bed utilization rate, particularly in Malabon.
"Alam naman natin sa Malabon, tatatlo ang ICU beds diyan so 'pag nagkaroon lang ng isa na laman, tumataas na po ang ating percentage kaya ating binabantayan at tinitignan kung magtutuloy-tuloy," Vergeire said.
(We know that Malabon only has 3 ICU beds so if one is occupied, our utilization rate goes up, so we are monitoring if that will continue.)
"Sa ngayon, we can say everything is manageable. Our hospitals are able to manage our cases. Wala pong masyadong kaso na naitatala na mula sa ibang lugar dito sa Metro Manila," she added.
(For now, we can say everything is manageable. There aren't that many cases from other areas in Metro Manila.)
As of March 5, healthcare utilization rates in the region remain low risk at 20.30 percent.
She said all local government units had seen decreasing hospital rates with a third of LGUs not reporting any case at all.
However, DOH data also showed that Mindanao is experiencing incremental case increases.
VACCINE PROOF, FACE MASKS
In a circular issued by the Department of Tourism, proof of vaccination and the wearing of face masks will no longer be required in tourism enterprises.
The move is said to help “address the economic hardships of the tourism industry brought about by the lockdowns and restrictions of the pandemic.”
“It sends that important message across that, under the Marcos administration, our country is open for tourism, and that we are keeping up with global practices on tourism operations that have already opened up worldwide,” Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco has said.
The DOH said the move was not entirely new as mask wearing had already been made voluntary during the last quarter of 2022.
“Wala namang bago. Nire-reiterate lang siguro ng Department of Tourism para mas maka-attract siguro ng tourist sa ating areas,” Vergeire said.
(There is nothing new. Perhaps the Department of Tourism is only reiterating that to attract tourists to our areas.)
BELOW 1,000 CASES
In the past week, the Philippines tallied 913 COVID-19 cases, according to the DOH's latest COVID-19 case bulletin.
This is the third straight week with weekly cases below 1,000 or since the week of March 16 to 22, 2020 when the DOH logged 240 cases based on the COVID-19 Data Drop, based on the analysis of the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
Meanwhile, the group said the number of severe and critical admissions for the same week is is 7 percent higher than it was the prior week or 25 admissions more than the prior week’s 370 cases.
The DOH reported 395 severe and critical COVID-19 cases or 10.9 percent of the total COVID-19 admissions.
Based on the group's analysis, this is eleventh straight week that the COVID-19 ICU bed utilization rate is below 20 percent.
The DOH reported 263 occupied ICU beds or 13.3 percent of the 1,978 ICU beds allotted for COVID-19 cases.
— With a report from ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group