MANILA, July 27 (Mabuhay) — Metro Manila saw a nearly 50-percent increase in new COVID-19 cases this week compared to the week before, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Tuesday.

“Dito sa NCR, tumaas tayo ng mga 47% itong linggong ito compared doon sa nakaraang linggo (Here in NCR, our cases increased by 47% this week compared to the previous week),” he said in a Laging Handa briefing.

Duque said Metro Manila posted “a little over 900” new cases per day in the past week.

The health chief urged “aggressive” case finding, testing, and contact tracing, among other efforts, to stem COVID-19 transmission.

“Dapat ito ay wake-up call sa ating mga pamahalaang lokal na talagang i-intensify, paigtingin, palawigin ang lahat ng ating mga tukoy na istratehiya (This should be a wake up call to our local governments to really intensify all our strategies),” he said.

Duque also agreed with the recommendation of the OCTA Research group to implement “circuit breakers” amid local transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant.

He added, however, that such measures still need to be discussed by medical experts and the government’s inter-agency COVID-19 task force, which will convene on Tuesday.

The Philippines has so far recorded 119 Delta variant cases, only 12 of which remain active.

Duque said community transmission of the new variant still needs to be established but reiterated that it was better to assume ongoing widespread transmission.

The government earlier tightened restrictions in Metro Manila, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Davao del Norte, and Davao de Oro amid the threat of the Delta variant.

Metro Manila is under general community quarantine “with heightened restrictions” from July 23 to 31.

The Philippines’ tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 1,555,396 on Monday after the Department of Health DOH reported 6,664 new infections.

Of this number, 1,473,009 recovered, 27,247 died, while 55,140 are active. (MNS)

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