MANILA — The number of daily COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila has increased in the past week, a think tank said Friday.
According to OCTA Research, the capital region's weekly new cases jumped from a 7-day average of 264 on November 24 to 411 on December 1.
The figure represents a one-week growth rate of 56 percent.
Based on the group's latest monitoring report, Metro Manila's COVID-19 positivity rate also rose to 11.9 percent on November 30 from 9.4 percent on November 23.
Positivity rate refers to the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come out positive.
"This rate of increase in the positivity rate in the NCR is around the same time of increase during the omicron BA.5 wave (from June) and the XBB (from September," OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said in a statement.
"This projects to a December BQ.1 wave similar to the BA.5 and XBB waves."
David noted the healthcare utilization rate remains low at 28 percent.
The Philippines has so far detected 16 cases of omicron BQ.1 subvariant, which is believed to be more contagious and better at evading immunity.
BQ.1 is a sublineage of BA.5.
As of November 24, the country has also detected 12,559 cases of BA.5 and 684 cases of XBB, the DOH's latest COVID-19 biosurveillance report showed.
In response to OCTA Research's report, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the possibility of a BQ.1 wave would depend on the public's compliance to health protocols.
"Hindi po natin kailangan magpanic sa bawat subvariant na pumapasok sa ating bansa," she said in a press briefing.
"Kasi sabi ko nga, compared to the previous 2 years into the pandemic, we already have the tools that can protect our population."
In a virtual town hall forum Tuesday, the DOH has said the country's daily COVID-19 cases may reach nearly 2,300 by the end of December should there be a decline in minimum public health standards.
If the MPHS compliance remains the same, the health agency projects the cases will be at 429.
But if it decreases, daily cases may range from 1,140 to as high as 2,294 by the end of the month.