While COVID-19 cases in the Philippines continue to decline, health authorities warned that infections may spike again if the public would disregard the minimum public health standards. This, after the government eased restrictions in virus epicenter Metro Manila and other other regions.
According to the projections made by the Department of Health’s (DOH) data analytics team and FASSSTER, active cases in the country may shoot up again to 52,393 by mid-December.
“An uptrend of active cases was observed in scenarios where there is increased mobility from 82% to 91% and a corresponding decrease in the compliance to MPHS (minimum public health standards) by 26%. In these scenarios, active cases may reach up to 25,305 to 29,811 by the end of November and 33,891 to 52,393 by mid-December,” the DOH said in a statement on Saturday, November 6.
FASSSTER or the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance Using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler For Early Detection of Diseases is the disease surveillance tool being used by the DOH in monitoring case projections.
The DOH said that estimated active cases were four to five times higher by the end of November and 16 to 20 times higher by December 15 when compared to the scenarios where the compliance to MPHS was maintained.
On Monday, November 8, the Philippines recorded 2,087 new infections, bringing the country’s caseload to 2,805,294. Of the these, 1.1% or 32,077 remain active or currently sick.
On November 4, the government body tasked to manage the COVID-19 pandemic decided to “de-escalate” Metro Manila to Alert Level 2 from Alert Level 3 beginning November 5.
Under Alert Level 2, most businesses are allowed to operate. Other activities that the government earlier restricted are allowed at 50% indoor venue capacity for fully-vaccinated individuals and at 70% outdoor venue capacity.
“Improvements in case trends should not result in complacency. We must continue to strengthen local response in all areas to hammer down daily cases,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters on Monday.
Vergeire added, “Our conscious adherence to the MPHS and avoidance of 3Cs (closed, crowded, and closed contact settings), will also help prevent or control COVID-19 transmission.”
Metro Manila in better situation now
In a tweet on Monday, Octa Research fellow Guido David said that virus epicenter Metro Manila is in better situation now compared to the same period in 2020.
David tweeted a table comparing the situation in the capital region in the two periods based on average daily cases, reproduction number, daily attack rate, active cases, and positivity rate.
Will the Philippines experience a less restrictive Christmas this year? Well, the DOH says it will depend on the public compliance with health protocols. – Rappler.com