The country logged over 2,000 new COVID-19 cases for the third straight day on Sunday as government hospitals braced for an uptick of cases owing to the local transmission of the Arcturus variant.
In-person classes at a school in Cabatuan, Isabela province are also suspended this week after over a dozen teachers and students tested positive for COVID, as experts warned the public to be extra cautious with infections continuing to rise.
With the threat of an Arcturus-fueled surge looming, some businesses have proactively resumed a mask mandate, with popular grocery chain Puregold starting to bar customers from shopping at their branches without face coverings.
The country, however, has lifted its mask requirement, with President Ferdinand R Marcos Jr. saying the Philippines had already been on “normal footing” even before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared last week an end to the emergency phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Department of Health tracker logged 2,109 new cases yesterday, while active cases stood at 15,891.
Metro Manila had the highest number of new cases in the last 14 days, followed by Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Western Visayas, and Bicol Region.
Among cities and provinces, Quezon City had the most new infections for the same period, followed by Rizal, Cavite, City of Manila, and Laguna.
Dr. Imelda Mateo, the medical center chief of Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center in Marikina City, told ABS-CBN News hospital admission remains low as more of COVID-19-positive patients have mild symptoms, and thus can be treated at home.
That does not prevent the spread of the virus, however, as in Cabatuan National High School, 11 teachers and two students tested positive last week, forcing Mayor Bernardo Garcia Jr. to ask that the school suspend classes this week.
The school and staff will return to blended, online and modular learning for its 2,224 students until May 17, the school principal said.
Mateo of ARMMC said the hospital is ready should there be a surge of cases in the coming days. Amang Rodriguez is the catchment hospital of nearby places like Rizal province, Pasig, and Quezon City.