MANILA – Despite the continued slowdown of COVID-19 infections, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III admitted Thursday that the convergence of large crowds, together with the public's complacency in following health protocols, could lead to a fresh wave of cases in a few months.
Duque said the statement after reports that visitors kept flocking to the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach and other areas, as lockdown restrictions in the capital region eased.
“This is potential for a possible surge in the future [maybe] 4 to 6 months. But hopefully we continue to discipline ourselves and comply with the minimum public health standards or wearing of face shields, face masks and social distancing,” the health chief explained.
Meanwhile, Duque also considered Wednesday’s tally a welcome development. More than 3,600 cases were recorded on the said date, the lowest daily tally since July 13 this year.
On Thursday, the DOH posted 4,806 fresh COVID-19 cases, the third straight day that daily infections were below 5,000.
“This bodes well on what was said that we will all get out of this pandemic and the Filipinos healthier and the once vibrant economy will be back," he said.
Should fresh infections continue declining, Duque said Metro Manila could be placed by Alert Level 2 or Alert Level 1 by December.
As of Thursday, the intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and all over the country was at 52 percent and 58 percent, respectively.
These rates are at the safe zone, according to ABS-CBN Data Analytics Head Edson Guido.
The Philippines is raising its daily vaccination target to 1.5 million ahead of Christmas season, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. had said.
The government has so far fully vaccinated 24.7 million individuals, while 28.6 million have received their first dose.