MANILA — The resumption of in-person classes could have caused the uptick in Metro Manila's COVID-19 positivity rate, a group of experts said Thursday.
According to OCTA Research fellow Dr. Butch Ong, the capital region's positivity rate, which refers to the percentage of tests turning out positive, climbed to 12.7 percent on Sept. 6 from 12.1 percent on Sept. 2.
"Ma-attribute natin ‘yan siyempre sa increased mobility ng ating mga kababayan, sa communities nila. Maaari din dahil siyempre mas dumami ang tao sa labas dahil sa pumapasok sa opisina at sa paaralan," he said in a televised briefing.
The small increase in the capital region's positivity rate, Ong said, could be an effect of the return of face-to-face classes.
"Maaari ‘yang possibility ‘yung pag-open ng face-to-face classes," he said.
Ong urged the public, particularly students and teachers, to strictly observe health and safety protocols.
Based on latest data from OCTA Research, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is decreasing.
"Compared to August, 'yung September data natin in general ay talagang bumababa ang ating mga numbers," Ong said.
Among the few areas that have reported increase in their positivity rates are Albay and Palawan, but Ong noted most cases are mild and asymptomatic.
"In general naman, ang ating mga numbers ay improving over the weeks," he said.
Schools all over the country resumed in-person instruction on Aug. 22 after 2 years of distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some 14.6 million children and adolescents have so far been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Of the figure, some 9.9 million are adolescents ages 12 to 17, while around 4.7 million are children ages 5 to 11, latest data from the Department of Health showed.
On Wednesday, the Philippines logged 1,750 fresh coronavirus cases, bringing its tally to 3,896,541 cases.