As fresh cases of COVID-19 continue to drop in the National Capital Region (NCR) and more people get vaccinated, Christmas should be merrier for Filipinos this year, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Wednesday.
In its latest report, the independent OCTA Research Group said Metro Manila recorded an average of 829 cases per day from June 9 to 15, which is a 13 percent decrease from the previous week.
OCTA said it corresponds to an average daily attack rate (ADAR) of six per 100,000, which puts Metro Manila under a moderate risk classification.
The reproduction number in NCR over the same period was 0.69, it added.
Año, who is vice chairman of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said the government sees a significant chunk of the population protected against the coronavirus before the year ends.
“We’ll have a merrier... Christmas this year because we will be hitting the population protection level before the end of the year. That means at least half of our total population has been vaccinated. Almost all businesses [will be] opened by then and almost all restrictions [will be] eased (by then),” Año said.
It added that all local government units in Metro Manila are now classified as moderate risk, noting that Navotas had the lowest ADAR followed by Marikina, Caloocan, and Malabon.
Meanwhile, Pateros had the lowest average new cases.
“The NCR had a positivity rate of 8 percent, with a 35 percent hospital bed occupancy, 46 percent ICU bed occupancy, and 33 percent mechanical ventilator occupancy, all within safe levels,” OCTA said.
Metro Manila and Bulacan are under general community quarantine “with some restrictions” from June 16 to June 30.
The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAPI), meanwhile, said the number of patients with COVID-19 and being treated in private hospitals in Metro Manila is now going down.
However, some regions have reported an increase in cases, PHAPI said.
“Private hospitals in the National Capital Region have been decongested. Almost 95 percent are asymptomatic or mild. Usually they are not admitted to hospital. Only moderate to severe [cases] are admitted,” said Dr. Rene Jose de Grano, PHAPI president, in an interview on ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
De Grano said most COVID-19 patients in Metro Manila are now in isolation facilities but cases are still high in other areas such as Region 4 and Visayas, and Davao, Cotabato and Cagayan and Santiago City.
He said this could be due to lack of isolation facilities in those areas.
The Philippines logged 5,414 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections to 1,332,832, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.
The DOH reported 158 new fatalities, bringing the death toll from COVID-19 to 23,121.
The DOH also reported 7,637 patients who recently recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 1,253,541.
Active cases were logged at 56,170, of which 91.4 percent were mild, 4 percent were asymptomatic, 1.3 percent were critical, 1.9 percent were severe, and 1.36 percent were moderate.
The DOH also reported that, nationwide, 58 percent of the ICU beds, 47 percent of the isolation beds, 47 percent of the ward beds, and 37 percent of the ventilators, were in use.
In Metro Manila, 45 percent of the ICU beds, 37 percent of the isolation beds, 32 percent of the ward beds, and 33 percent of the ventilators, were in use.
In other developments:
* The mayor of Tacloban City said recent COVID-19 infections in his city were mostly health workers, some of whom were already vaccinated against the virus. “We noticed a faster spread of COVID-19 here last week because those who got infected were more than 100 health workers,” said Mayor Alfred Romualdez, talking to ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
* The country’s treatment czar said the COVID-19 referral center is now being regionalized to improve coordination among local and national authorities and health care providers, amid a spike in infections in some parts of the country. Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said regional hospital commands have been set up in Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Southern Mindanao, and Caraga. Its headquarters located in Metro Manila, the One COVID-19 Referral Center, previously known as the One Hospital Command Center, connects patients needing medical attention to health care facilities.