COVID cases up in 14 Metro Manila areas; positivity rate tops WHO benchmark: OCTA


Posted at Jun 28 2022 02:55 PM

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Fourteen areas in Metro Manila have shown an increase in COVID-19 cases, raising its positivity rate above the threshold recommended by the World Health Organization, independent research group OCTA said Tuesday.

The capital region tallied an average of 342 cases in the past 7 days, said OCTA Research fellow Guido David. It is expected to rise "between 400 to 500 this week," he said.

The uptick in cases has pulled up Metro Manila's positivity rate to 6 percent, above the WHO benchmark, David added. 

The WHO earlier said a positivity of less than 5 percent for at least 2 weeks shows an epidemic is "controlled." 

"Hindi naman ito nakakabahala, mababa pa 'to kumpara sa mga nakaraan na surge. Lagi nating sinasabi patuloy na pagiingat para sa mga kababayan natin," David said in a televised briefing.

(This is not concerning, it's still low compared with previous surges. We continue to remind the public to remain vigilant.)

Aside from Metro Manila, parts of Calabarzon, Western Visayas, and South Cotabato province have shown an increase in cases with positivity rates ranging from 5 to 7 percent, David said.

The rise in infections is likely due to the more transmissible omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants which also caused a surge in other countries, David added.

The BA.4 and BA.5 are 19 percent and 35 percent, respectively, more transmissible than the dominant omicron BA.2 subvariant, according to David.

It is important to comply with minimum health standards and get vaccinated and boosted to prevent infection, he said.

Meanwhile, the rollout of second booster shots should be expanded to include economic frontline workers and persons with comorbidities, according to Dr. Rontgene Solante, member of government's vaccine expert panel.

"Nakikita naman natin with these variants of concern, mataas ang hawahaan. If you give the booster malakas ang tsansa na 'di tayo maaospital, less episodes ng severe COVID, which is important now. Kinakailangan natin na di mapupuno ang mga hospital," he said.

(We can see with these variants of concern, there's higher transmissibility. If you give the booster, there's a higher chance that people won't be hospitalized, and that there will be less episodes of severe COVID, which is important now. We want to avoid our hospitals becoming swamped with COVID cases.)

Solante and David said they were part of an advisory group recently formed by Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

The group's function is to "give advisory positions" for the current administration, David said.

"Itong grupo namin ay nabuo (our group was formed) because we have one goal, it’s to try to balance the protection of the population as we move forward with this pandemic and at the same time we open the economy," Solante said.