MANILA (UPDATE) —The Philippines remains at "high-risk" for the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Health said Monday, warning that cases may continue to rise in the next weeks due to the more contagious Delta variant.
"Nationally and some regions show a slowing down in the increase in the number of cases. However, the national case classification and health systems capacity remain to be at high-risk," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergerie said in a press briefing.
Majority or 95 percent of provinces and cities remain flagged under Alert Levels 3 and 4, she said.
Alert Level 3 means that COVID-19 case count is high and increasing in a particular area while Alert Level 4 is raised if more than 70 percent of hospital bed capacity has already been used up.
Vergeire also bared that the health systems capacity of more than half of the regions were still at high-risk.
In the briefing, she also warned of increasing infections due to the Delta variant, which first emerged in India.
"Cases may still continue to increase in the next weeks due to higher transmissibility of the Delta variant of concern," she said.
Hospitals in and around Metro Manila have mostly declared full capacity, while the government's One Hospital Command has been receiving hundreds of calls per day.
With over 2 million coronavirus infections and more than 34,000 deaths, the Philippines has the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.
Philippines currently has 157,438 active cases of COVID-19. Of the figure. 154,146 are asymptomatic, mild and moderate while 3,292 are in severe and critical condition.
11 REGIONS ARE HIGH-RISK
According to the DOH, 11 out of 17 regions in the country are under high-risk case classification due to increase in COVID-19 infections recorded from Aug. 23 to Sept. 5.
These are the Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Northern Mindanao, Ilocos Region, Davao Region, Caraga, Western Visayas, and Soccsksargen.
Under the "moderate" risk classification were Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Mimaropa, Eastern Visayas, Bicol Region, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Vergeire also disclosed that the national ICU utilization remains to be at high-risk, with 74.35 percent occupied.
"We would like to flag the National Capital Region, Regions 4A, 2, CAR, 3, 10, 1, 11, Caraga, 6 and 12 with high-risk case classification," she said.
As of Sept. 5, Metro Manila still has the most number of active COVID-19 cases in the country with 44,542. It is followed by Calabarzon (35,345), Central Luzon (19,321), Central Visayas (7,220) and Ilocos Region (7,122).
The country has so far administered 34 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine since starting its inoculation drive in March.
Some 20 million have received first dose of the anti-virus jab while more than 14 million were fully vaccinated. The number of fully vaccinated individuals represents 19.91 percent of the government's target 70 million adult Filipinos by year-end.