COVID Surge Likely in May if Filipinos Fail to Observe Safety Rules: DOH

We're still in a pandemic.
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

A COVID surge that's worse than the Omicron wave earlier in the year is possible by election month in May if Filipinos fail to observe safety protocols, the Department of Health said , as tens of thousands traveled across the country for the Holy Week break.

Around 25,000 to 60,000 new COVID-19 cases can be reported in Metro Manila alone by mid-May should compliance to minimum public health standards -- mask wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing where mandated -- drop by half, the DOH said on Thursday.

Such a scenario could result in a COVID-19 surge wherein active cases could as much as triple compared to the Omicron wave in January, the DOH said.

ALSO READ: COVID Far from Becoming Endemic: WHO

While the Philippines has been reporting lower COVID-19 cases since March, the DOH said Filipinos have also been less compliant with minimum public health standards which, if left unchecked, could cause a spike in infections by May.

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Citing its models, the DOH said that a 20% decrease in compliance with COVID-19 protocols nationwide could lead to around 34,788 COVID-19 cases by mid-May. 

Should compliance with pandemic protocols decrease by 30%, the DOH said active COVID-19 cases could be as high as 300,000 for the same period.

"This figure is higher than the largest recorded number of active cases at 291,618 during the peak of the Omicron wave in January 2022," the DOH said.

The DOH urged the public to wear face masks, isolate themselves when sick, and get vaccinated to avert another COVID-19 surge.

“Numbers do not lie. The good news is, at this point, these are all still projections. We can still avert these estimates in favor of better scenarios," DOH spokesperson Usec. Rosario Vergeire said.

Most parts of the Philippines have transitioned to the "new normal" as COVID-19 cases declined following the January surge. 

While COVID-19 protocols have been largely eased across the country, Filipinos are still required to wear face masks and are encouraged to get vaccinated and boosted against the virus.

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