by May 4, 2022Featured Article, News

MANILA, Philippines — Last week’s uptick in new COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila is not a cause for alarm since cases are mostly mild or asymptomatic and hospitals are not overwhelmed with patients, said the Department of Health (DOH)

“[COVID-19] transmission is still here so we expect new cases not only in NCR (National Capital Region). We will not go down to zero cases. We are here to live with the virus,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a news conference by video link on Monday.

“What’s important is we don’t see an increase in the number of severe and critical cases and hospitals are not congested … Right now severe and critical cases and hospital admissions are not increasing, that is what’s important,” she said.


The DOH said the number of new reported COVID-19 cases was now lower than the numbers prior to the Omicron variant surge in January.

The seven-day average daily reported cases has gone down from 271 in the first week of April to 196 in the last week of April.

Metro Manila still at low risk

A week before the May 9 elections, Metro Manila saw a 7-percent increase in new cases to 85 daily infections from April 24 to April 30 from the previous week’s 76 daily cases.

Metro Manila nevertheless remained at low risk of an outbreak, according to the independent monitoring team OCTA Research.

In the weekly case bulletin on Monday, the DOH reported 1,399 new laboratory confirmed cases last week, or an average 200 daily cases. This was 5 percent lower than the previous week’s total 1,465 new cases or a daily average 209 cases.

Most of the new cases were mild or asymptomatic, and no severe or critical cases were reported last week, according to the DOH.

With 723 admitted COVID-19 patients in severe and critical condition, health-care utilization remains at low levels with 16.1 percent of intensive care unit (ICU) beds occupied and non-ICU beds 16.3 percent occupied.

Meanwhile, the DOH confirmed 215 more deaths, mostly late reports that occurred between September 2020 and December 2021.

This raised the country’s death toll to 60,612 out of 3.6 million confirmed cases in the past two years of the pandemic.

The number of active cases or people who are still infected has gone down to around 6,000.

‘Modify response’

“We have to modify our response not just based on the numbers but on the severity of cases because that is what impacts the health-care utilization,” said DOH adviser Anna Ong-Lim in the same news conference.

Meanwhile, the DOH reminded close contacts or individuals who are in quarantine or isolation with COVID-positive individuals not to leave the house just to vote on May 9.

“The DOH supports having all eligible individuals to go out and vote. But in these extraordinary times that we have a pandemic where the disease spreads fast and can lead to severe and critical cases and even death, we have to be careful for ourselves and our families,” Vergeire said.