The government is closely monitoring the possible spike of active coronavirus cases in the country by mid-May following the campaign-related mass gatherings and emergence of Omicron subvariants abroad.
NTF chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., also the vaccine czar, noted that some areas will become vulnerable to the disease, in the advent of new cases resurgence, due to their very low vaccination coverage.
“During our regular T3 (Test, Trace and Treat) meeting yesterday with the private sector and also some experts, Father Nic Austriaco presented the emergence of the three Omicron variants. Two from South Africa and one in the US. He predicted that with these three variants, it is very likely that at least one or even maybe all of these variants will hit the Philippines,” Galvez reported to President Rodrigo Duterte in his Talk to the People aired on Wednesday.
Task Force T3 (Test, Trace and Treat) is composed of a multi-sectoral public-private consortium of companies and organizations, that is helping the government to identify the most urgent requirements to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Galvez said the Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5 variants that were recently monitored in South Africa and Europe are both declared by the health experts as “variants of concerns that” that can possibly cause “a global economic downturn and reinstatement of travel restrictions.”
He warned that these variants may also cause Covid-19 upticks once they emerge in the Philippines.
“Inuulit po namin na very imminent na po na tataas ang ating mga kaso at very vulnerable ang mga hindi pa bakunado dahil 95 percent po ng namamatay ay unvaccinated (We repeat that the spike in cases is very imminent and those unvaccinated will become very vulnerable since 95 percent of death are unvaccinated),” he said.
Galvez cited the latest data from the Department of Health that there is an increase of cases in 13 areas previously placed under the most lenient Alert level 1 system.
“Though there are no signs of alarm but they are monitoring it. And with this, many experts predicted, including OCTA, that in mid-May we will have a dramatic increase of new cases. Meaning, Covid-19 is still here. We should not be complacent,” he added.
Galvez likewise urged those fully vaccinated to avail of the booster shots amid waning vaccine immunity due to emerging Covid-19 variants.
To date, there 67,640,431 Filipinos have received the primary series of Covid-19 vaccine, representing 75.15 percent of the country’s target for population protection, with only 13,043,715 fully vaccinated having booster doses.
The Philippines has already started giving the fourth Covid-19 dose or the second booster shots to eligible immunocompromised individuals. (PNA)