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Thursday, February 22, 2024

COVID cases in provinces, cities up but PH keeps low-risk status

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About 70 percent of provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities showed an increase in cases, but the Philippines remains at a low-risk classification for COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

The DOH said severe and critical cases remain at less than 1.5 percent of hospital admissions nationwide.

However, the DOH stressed the importance of minimum public health standards.

“Masking, ventilation, and sanitation are important interventions to complement vaccination in mitigating the risks of transmission among our population,” it said.

In May, the Philippines detected the more transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.4 and confirmed the local transmission of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1, of which there are now 22 cases.

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At present, the Philippines has recorded a total of 3,690,707 cases, of which 2,320 remain active. The death toll from COVID-19 has reached 60,455.

A researcher who has focused on the pandemic, meanwhile, said the Philippines should wait a little longer before lifting mask mandates.

OCTA Research Fellow Dr. Guido David cited as an example New York City in the US, where an increase in COVID-19 cases followed the scrapping of the mask mandate.

David also said it was premature to consider the country out of the woods.

Globally, COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to decline. But the World Health Organization (WHO) urged the public to treat these figures with caution due to a significantly reduced amount of testing in many countries.

“The pandemic is not over. We continue to call on all countries to maintain testing and sequencing services, to give us a clearer picture of where the virus is spreading, and how it’s changing,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.

On Wednesday night, Pfizer completed the delivery of 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 years old following the arrival of 2,400 doses in Manila Wednesday night.

The shipment arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 via Air Hong Kong flight LD-456 around 8:37 p.m.

The latest vaccine delivery completes the national government’s purchase of 15 million vaccine doses from the US-based manufacturer Pfizer-BioNTech.

To date, the country has received over 245 million vaccine doses since February 2021.

A year and two months since the national COVID-19 vaccination program was launched, a total of 73,993,483 Filipinos have already received their first vaccine dose, while 69,366,505 individuals have been fully vaccinated as of May 31.

About 2.8 million children aged 5 to 11 years old have been fully vaccinated since the pediatric vaccination started on Feb. 7 this year.

The government is encouraging parents to have their children vaccinated to ensure they are protected upon the resumption of face-to-face classes.

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