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DOH exec: Philippines now at low risk for COVID-19

The Philippines has been classified as a low-risk area for COVID-19 after the national case growth rate and average daily attack rate (ADAR) decreased, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

“Dahil negative ang ating two-week growth rate at nakikita naman natin ang ating ADAR ay naka-moderate risk na at 5.42, the risk classification nationally is already at low risk,” DOH Epidemiology Bureau director Dr. Alethea De Guzman said in an online forum.

(Because we have a negative two-week growth rate and we see that our ADAR is at moderate risk at 5.42, the risk classification nationally is already at low risk.)

DOH data showed that the Philippines’ case growth rate fell to -9% during June 13 to 26 from 15% on May 30 to June 12

The national utilization rates of hospital and intensive care unit beds were also in the safe zone at 46.51% and 55.24%, respectively.

The country averaged 5,772 new cases daily from June 24 to 30, only slightly higher than its average of 5,638 daily new infections from June 17 to 23.

While national COVID-19 figures have improved, the DOH flagged four regions as high-risk areas over their high ADAR and healthcare utilization rate. 

De Guzman also said cases are plateauing in NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal), slowly declining in Mindanao, and slightly increasing in the rest of Luzon and the Visayas.

The health official underscored that the decline in cases is "thin" or "very slow," especially in Metro Manila.

“Ngayon (Now), the challenge is while we open up our economy, we have these safeguards,” De Guzman said.

“Kung ma-me-maintain natin ang ginagawa natin ngayon… tuloy tuloy po at baka mas mabilis pa na pagbaba ng kaso ang makita natin,” she added.

(If we maintain our efforts now… the decline in cases will continue and may even accelerate.)

De Guzman also urged local governments to use this time to “ensure that our strategies are in place, our health system can take on whatever surge this Delta variant can potentially bring to the Philippines.”

The country has detected 17 cases of the Delta coronavirus variant first discovered in India as of June 17. 

The Philippines has over 1.4 million COVID-19 cases with 1.3 million recoveries and 24,662 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon. — RSJ, GMA News