MANILA, Philippines – After reeling from the surge in infections driven by the highly contagious COVID-19 Omicron variant, all regions in the country are now under minimal risk case classification, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday, March 22.
“Pababa na po nang pababa ang mga kaso ng COVID-19 sa lahat ng lugar sa ating bansa. Dahil dito, lahat ng rehiyon natin ay nananatili sa minimal risk case classification at may low risk health system capacity,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
(COVID-19 cases in the country continue to decline in all areas of the country. Because of this, all of our regions remain under minimal risk case classification and low risk health system capacity.)
Minimal risk is the lowest risk case classification for COVID-19.
The health spokesperson said that hospital admissions for critical to severe cases have also dropped from 1,874 in mid-January to 805.
“Ang pagbaba po ng mga malubha at kritikal na kaso ay bunga po ng patuloy nating pagsunod sa ating minimum public health standards at pagkukumpleto ng primary series at booster shots for vaccination. Patotoo lamang po ito na ang ating mga bakuna ay ligtas at garantisadong mabisa para sa COVID-19,” Vergeire said.
(The decline in critical and severe cases was a result of our compliance with the public health standards and completion of primary series and booster shots of vaccination. This is evident that our vaccines are safe and guaranteed effective against COVID-19.)
At a recorded address aired on Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not scrap face mask wearing policy yet despite continued decrease in infections. He said that the virus is still mutating and face masks are still the best protection.
“The numbers are very low compared to the population. But itong mask, maraming nagtatanong, alam mo (many are asking about the face masks but) I am not ready to order the removal of the mask,” Duterte said.
On March 17, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that the Philippines would likely remain under Alert Level 1 until the end of the President’s term, or until June 30, 2022.
Currently, Metro Manila and some 47 other areas are under Alert Level 1 until March 31.
Under Alert Level 1 or what the government considers as the “new normal,” establishments and public transportation are allowed to be fully operational. There are also no restrictions on the movement of people of different age groups, though this is subject to specific rules that vary among local government units. – Rappler.com