Hospitals are starting to fill up with active COVID-19 cases, the DOH said Monday, as it reminded the public to keep their guards up and consider wearing a double mask.
The health system in Metro Manila is at "moderate risk" of getting overwhelmed, said Health Usec. Leopoldo Vega, the country's treatment czar. A surge in active cases was also observed in the Cagayan Valley Region and Central Visayas, he said.
The rest of the country is under "low risk," Vega told Teleradyo. Active cases last peaked in August 2020, Vega said. At that time, President Rodrigo Duterte rolled back quarantines from GCQ to a stricter MECQ, delaying the partial reopening of the economy.
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Vega said the public seemed to have grown complacent as restrictions ease and as vaccines begin to arrive. He said face masks and face shields should be worn properly and hand washing and physical distancing must be observed.
"Kung kailangan mag double mask, mas maigi. Mag double mask ka," Vega said. The current national policy is for a single face mask and face shield at all times when in public places.
"Kung di natin ayusin to at di magbago ang ating behavior, mahihirapan, matatalo tayo sa transmission ng virus. Ito na ang race between vaccination and infection so kailangan natin matalo ang transmission," he said.
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The entry of more contagious COVID variants such as the ones that originated in South Africa and the UK could play a part in the ongoing surge in the Philippines, Vega said. Last week, the DOH confirmed 58 South African variant cases.
"Nakaaalarm dahil tumataas na rin ang active cases. Alam naman natin once tumaas ang active cases, tumataas na rin ang rate of admission, and of course 'yung nangangailangan ng intensive care unit atsaka ventilators," he said.
Vega said hospitals were readying protocols that were put in place during the August 2020 peak. This time, he said the health system was "ready."
Last week, the Philippines received roughly a million vaccine donations, China Sinovac and Britain's AstraZeneca. It also secured an agreement with America's Moderna to supply 13 million doses of its high efficacy jab.
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