MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is set to lose about P3 billion per week, as the alert level was escalated in Metro Manila and nearby areas amid the surge in COVID-19 cases and the spread of the Omicron variant.
In a statement on Friday, January 7, the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) said that while the shift from Alert Level 2 to 3 in Metro Manila, as well as Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite will result in financial losses, it is just a “temporary setback” and a “necessary adjustment in view of a new COVID variant.”
The country’s economic managers also assured the public that the Philippines is in “a better position to manage possible spikes” due to sufficient vaccine supply and funding for booster shots.
“From all indications, the Omicron variant results in less severe cases, especially to those who are fully vaccinated,” the DBCC said.
While the Philippines has a stockpile of vaccines, it failed to reach its target of fully vaccinating 54 million Filipinos in 2021.
On Thursday, January 6, the Department of Health announced it detected 29 new cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, including 19 local cases from Metro Manila.
The Omicron variant is already the dominant strain in the United States and some countries in Europe. Experts said the trend may likely be true for several other countries.
The Philippines has already logged over 2.9 million COVID-19 cases. On Friday, 21,819 new cases were recorded, the country’s sixth highest single-day tally since the start of the pandemic. – Rappler.com