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Under control but not out of the woods

"The infection rate can easily spike and come back with a vengeance."

 

The Philippines may have tamed the spread of COVID-19 after daily cases plummeted to below 1,000 for two consecutive days. But the virus’ resurgence in Europe is a reminder that the infection rate can easily spike and come back with a vengeance in Asia, including the Philippines.

Virtually all the country’s COVID data show that the Philippines has controlled COVID-19. The positivity rate is down to 2.3 percent, or well below the World Health Organization benchmark of 5 percent. Active cases have dropped to less than 18,000 while our hospitals are no longer overwhelmed with patients. Only 31 percent of ICU beds, 28 percent of isolation beds, 16 percent of ward beds and 19 percent of ventilators are now in use.

The increasing vaccination rate in the Philippines is a major factor for the slowdown of COVID-19. About 76.5 million vaccine doses have been administered throughout the country as of Tuesday. Some 41.9 million Filipinos have received the first dose while more than 33.5 million obtained a second dose and single-dose shots.

The rising vaccination rate, however, is not an assurance that the Philippines has effectively contained COVID-19. Lessons must be learned from the now-raging pandemic in Europe. The continent, along with the United States, is ironically one of the earliest regions that administered vaccine doses to its population.

But the WHO has declared Europe as the epicenter of the pandemic again, with Germany as the hardest-hit nation. Germany logged nearly 74,000 daily cases the other day, while the UK and France reported 43,676 and 32,591 cases, respectively.

The low vaccine rates in Eastern European countries, the waning protection of those who early obtained the doses, easing restrictions and colder weather that is prompting people to go indoors are being blamed for the COVID-19 spike in the continent. Germany in response is now considering a vaccine mandate while Italy is pushing to ban the unvaccinated from several venues.

Amid the surging infection rate in Europe, the Philippines is advised to keep the face mask mandate and deliver booster shots at once. It may as well mandate the vaccination of the rest of the population to prevent what Europe is now experiencing.

Topics: Editorial , Philippines , COVID-19 , infection rate , COVID-19 vaccinations
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