Philippines COVID-19 risk still low —DOH

By GMA Integrated News

The Philippines remains at low risk for COVID-19 even amid the reported uptick in cases in other countries believed to be caused by the FliRT variants, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the DOH said it is closely monitoring the country’s coronavirus cases as well as the newly designated variants. 

“There is still no scientific basis for travel restrictions to any country because of an increase in COVID-19 cases,” said the Health agency. 

“The Department remains to be in close coordination with international health authorities,” it added. 

Latest data from the DOH showed the average number of daily reported coronavirus cases in the Philippines from May 14 to May 20 is 202—fewer than the 500 cases per day reported earlier this year and the 1,750 daily COVID-19 cases year-on-year. 

Of the fresh cases, at least 16 cases were severe or critical. There were also around 12 fatalities, of which five occurred from May 7 to May 20.


As of May 18, at least 12% of dedicated COVID-19 ICU beds and 14% of total COVID-19 beds were occupied. Severe and critical COVID-19 cases admitted in various hospitals account to only 151 or 9% of the total admissions. 

The DOH earlier placed the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) under “heightened alert,” directing the agency to conduct thorough screening at points of entry for arriving visitors coming from countries where the new COVID-19 “FLiRT” variants have been detected. 

The term “FLiRT” was coined by researchers to describe the amino acid changes in the COVID-19 virus’ spike protein, specifically from phenylalanine (F) to leucine (L), and from arginine (R) to threonine (T). 

The DOH, however, reiterated that there is no current evidence to show yet that the KP.2 and KP.3 variants could cause severe to critical COVID-19, both locally and internationally.

To prevent COVID-19 infections, the agency reminded the public to observe minimum public health standards such as wearing masks, frequent handwashing, and practicing physical distancing. — Sundy Locus/BM, GMA Integrated News