A private hospitals group said Thursday that the state of calamity in the Philippines due to COVID-19 should be further extended to the first quarter of 2023 considering a possible spike in cases during the holiday season.
The state of calamity is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2022.
“I think it should continue maybe until the first quarter of the year,” Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAPI) president Dr. Jose de Grano said at a public briefing.
De Grano said active COVID-19 cases in the country still stand at 17,000.
“And this will continue, especially since it is now the holiday season. And we can see that almost everyone is not wearing face masks. So, this means there is a possibility that cases will increase again,” he said.
Mask use was made optional late last month, except for places like hospitals, ambulances, and public land, air, or sea transportation.
Earlier, the independent monitoring group OCTA Research said that another wave of COVID-19 infections may start in the National Capital Region. The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said NCR recorded the highest number of cases in the past two weeks with 3,382.
OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David said that NCR’s seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate jumped from 7.4 percent on Nov. 15 to 9.2 percent on Nov. 22.
The positivity rate refers to the percentage of people who were found positive for COVID-19 among the total number of individuals tested.
Despite the uptick, PHAPI said it has not experienced a rise in hospitalization because most of the symptoms are mild.
Overall new COVID-19 infections in the Philippines logged on Wednesday were at 703 — the third day straight of fewer than 1,000 new cases.
The DOH on Tuesday said it will hold another three-day nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive in December in a bid to increase the booster uptake and inoculation rate among Filipino children.
Based on DOH’s data, 73.7 million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 20.9 million individuals have received their first booster shot.
Currently, the second booster shots are available only for frontline healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities.
More than 3.5 million Filipinos have received their second booster dose, the DOH said.