Infectious disease expert sees no need to raise alert level


An infectious disease expert on Monday said he believes there is no need to raise the alert level in the face of the rising number of new COVID-19 cases in the country.

Dr. Edsel Salvana issued the remark when asked if the alert level should be raised if cases continue to increase after the country logged more than 4,000 new COVID-19 cases for four consecutive days.

“Sa ngayon, I don’t think so, no, kasi may metrics naman talaga tayo kung kailan mag tataas ng alert level,” Salvana said during the Palace public briefing.

(Right now, I don’t think so, because we have metrics on when to raise the alert level.)

He said the country’s healthcare utilization rate must breach 50% while the average daily attack rate (ADAR) must go over 18.

“And sa ngayon naman okay naman ‘yung ating health utilization., the ADAR is still below 18, so those are the parameters. Kasi again the number of cases is not as important as it was dati,” he said.

(Our health utilization is still good, and the ADAR is still below 18, so those are the parameters. Because the number of cases is not as important as it was before.)

“Dati kasi, marami talagang severe pero dahil ngayon bakunado na karamihan ng tao, ‘yung iba diyan may booster na, meron tayong gamot, alam natin kung paano i-prevent ito, mas important talaga kung ‘yung impact nito sa ating healthcare utilization,” he added.

(We had a lot of severe cases before but now most of us are vaccinated, others have been boosted, we have medicine, and we know how to prevent this. Its impact on healthcare utilization is more important.)

The National Capital Region and several other areas will remain under a COVID-19 Alert Level 1 from August 1 to 15.


Meanwhile, he advised the public to remain calm, saying there is no evidence that the Omicron subvariant BA.2.75 is “taking over.”


Last week, the Philippines detected its first two cases of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.75.

“Important to continue to monitor closely but do not panic. Sa ngayon wala naman ebidensya na it is taking over. Andyan ‘yan at we will monitor pero as far as we are concerned ‘yung mga ginagamit natin na bakuna ay mabisa naman sa pag prevent ng severe COVID,” he said.

(It is important to continue to monitor closely but not panic. Right now there’s no evidence that it is taking over. It’s here and we will monitor but as far as we are concerned, the vaccines that we use are still effective in preventing severe COVID.)

According to Salvana, the government is looking into whether the subvariant may cause a surge.

“Hindi klaro. Meron talagang clear transmission advtange. Kina-calculate nila itong transmission advantages, maraming external factors makikita eh,” he said.

(It’s not clear. There’s a clear transmission advantage. They are calculating these transmission advantages. There are a lot of external factors.)

Salvana said there were other factors such as compliance with the wearing of face masks and vaccination and booster rates.

“So may preliminary study na mukhang bakha merong chance na mas transmissible ito pero hindi pa ito nako-confirm. and like I said, the things that we do for other Omicron subvariants weren’t against this as far as we know based on the evidence,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said one of the reasons for the increase in cases can be attributed to decreasing compliance with MPHS.

“Sinasabi nga ng DOH mukhang bumababa ‘yung ginagawa ng mga tao in terms of compliance with our minimum health standards. ‘Yun po ‘yung rason kung bakit tumataas ‘yung number of cases,” Salvana said.

(The DOH said it seems that there is a decrease in compliance with our minimum health standards. This is one of the reasons why the number of cases is increasing.)

“Ang important is we need to, hindi talaga tayo nagsasawa. Gamit po tayo ng mask para ma protektahan po natin ang isa’t isa, lalong lalo na doon sa mga vulnerable population.,” he added.

(What is important is that we don’t get tired. Use face masks so we can protect each other, especially the vulnerable population.) — RSJ, GMA News