ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines – Zamboanga del Sur found itself on top of the list of provinces outside the National Capital Region (NCR) with the most number of COVID-19 cases that have continued to drop.
Zamboanga City also found itself next to Manila in terms of COVID-19 cases although the number was no longer a cause for alarm, showed Department of Health (DOH) data as of Monday, December 20.
Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga City registered a relatively low 17 new COVID-19 infections, but this was the highest in Mindanao and among the provinces and cities outside the NCR.
Zamboanga City accounted for 16 of the 17 cases in the province, the second-highest after Manila that counted only 18 newly-documented infections on Monday.
Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco said the city government would continue to ramp up the COVID-19 vaccination rollout even after the two-day 2nd National Vaccination Days that would conclude on Wednesday, December 22, so that the city could achieve herd immunity status.
The city government has so far inoculated around half of its target population of 694,696.
Another Mindanao province in the DOH’s list of areas outside the NCR with the highest number of new COVID-19 cases is South Cotabato. The province in the Soccsksargen region, including General Santos City, ranked 8th in the DOH list with only five cases.
Including areas in the NCR, General Santos ranked 13th among the list of 15 cities with the most number of newly-documented infections.
All provinces and cities in the DOH lists registered negative two-week growth rates except for Tarlac that saw a 2.86% growth with 11.65 active cases per 100,000-population this month.
Zamboanga del Sur, with Zamboanga City, registered a negative two-week growth rate at -68.75%. Its active cases were 185 or 9.55% per 100,000.
South Cotabato, though, logged the highest number of active COVID-19 cases at 22.12% per 100,000-population or 369 as of Monday.
Others in the DOH list of 15 areas with the most number of COVID-19 cases were Cavite, Rizal, Cebu province, including Cebu City, Lapulapu City, and Mandaue City; Pangasinan with Dagupan City; Negros Occidental with Bacolod City; Pampanga with Angeles City; Tarlac; Batangas; Iloilo province with Iloilo City; Isabela with Santiago City; Bohol; Isabela City; and Laguna. – Rappler.com
Antonio Manaytay is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship