MANILA, May 24 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines and most of its regions remain under the minimal risk case classification against COVID-19 despite the reported local transmission of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1, the Department of Health said on Monday night.

“Para po sa ating case trends, nanatili ang Pilipinas at karamihan ng ating regions sa minimal risk case classification. Anim na region po ang medyo sa low risk classification,” Health Undersecretary Dr. Abdullah Dumama Jr. said during President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People briefing.

These six regions—Regions 3, 5, 8, 12, Caraga, and BARMM—are at “low risk” for COVID-19 due to positive growth rates in the past two weeks.

“Samantala po inoobserbahan natin ang mga regions na nakapagtala ng positive rate sa loob ng huling pitong araw. Kasama po rito ay ‘yung NCR, Regions 1, 2, 3, IV-A, IV-B, 5, 7, 8, 9, and Caraga. Mapapansin po na [Regions] 6 and 10 lang ang hindi umangat ang kaso,” he added.

Dumama noted that the daily attack rates and health system capacity also remain at low risk in all areas across the country.

Last week, the Department of Health reported that it had detected the local transmission of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1. This was followed by the detection of another Omicron subvariant, BA.4, in a Filipino who had flown in from the Middle East earlier this month.

According to the DOH, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) sees Omicron BA.4 as a variant of concern.

The Philippines logged 1,214 new COVID-19 cases in the period from May 16 to 22, higher by 9.9% from the previous week.

According to the DOH, the daily average of cases was at 173.

Low active case tally

National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) Deputy Chief Implementer Vince Dizon, meanwhile, said that the Philippines’ active COVID-19 case tally is one of the lowest in the world, despite potential superspreader events such as election rallies.

Dizon said that COVID-19 cases in the country have continued to decline for the past several months.

He noted that from 116,720 active infections in February, the Philippines only had 2,252 active cases as of May 22.

“Down to 2,200 active cases na lang po tayo. If I’m not mistaken, Mr. President this is one of the lowest active cases in the world, for a country. Isa po ito sa pinakamababang dami ng aktibong cases sa buong mundo,” Dizon told the President.

(This is one of the lowest tallies of active cases in the world.)

“Despite the many election-related [activities], we did not see a significant spike in the number of cases, and it is I think a testament not only to the government’s effort to push the vaccines but also the willingness and cooperation of our countrymen and women,” he added.

The NTF official attributed this development to high vaccination turnout in the country, adding that 81 out of 119 provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities have already fully vaccinated more than 70% of its total population, and over 70% of its senior citizen population.

As of May 23, data from the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) showed that 69,037,072 or 76.70% of the target population were fully vaccinated while 73,529,148 individuals received at least one dose of COVID-19 jabs.

OCTA research fellow Dr. Guido David earlier said that the slight increase in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and other areas was caused by the more transmissible Omicron subvariants and not due to activities related to the May 9 elections.(MNS)

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