DOH to ask WHO: You agree we’re OK?
MANILA, Philippines — With the Philippines’ COVID-19 positivity rate consistently totaling lower than 5 percent lately, the Department of Health (DOH) wants to ask the World Health Organization (WHO) whether it agrees that the country has done better in containing the novel coronavirus that has claimed more than 47,000 Filipino lives.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday said the department would seek guidance from the WHO in determining the current status of the pandemic situation in the country, following a series of DOH bulletins from the past few days showing a positivity rate of below 5 percent.
According to the WHO, a positivity rate of below 5 percent should be maintained for at least 14 days — the maximum incubation period—to indicate that COVID-19 has been contained in the country.
“For two weeks, we hope to have a positivity rate lower than 5 percent. And we will ask the guidance of the WHO if we can already declare that the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines has been controlled or contained,” said Duque.
Citing the test results of 32,254 people on Monday, the DOH said the country’s COVID-19 positivity rate was at 2.5 percent, which is slightly higher than the 2.3 percent positivity rate recorded on Sunday. These positivity rates comply with the WHO’s requirement target.
Positivity rate refers to the percentage of people who test positive for the virus out of the total number of those who have been tested within a time frame. It indicates the rate at which COVID-19 is spreading within a community.
On Monday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire announced that all regions in the Philippines are now at minimal to low risk for COVID-19. However, she maintained that the public should continue complying with the minimum public health standards and safety protocols to be able to sustain the low-risk level of the country and to prevent the spikes in COVID-19 infections similar to what has happened in Europe.
800K adolescents vaxxed
The DOH on Wednesday recorded 890 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the nationwide tally to 2,828,660.
The new cases brought the country’s active case count to 17,864 of which 53.4 percent are mild, 21.39 percent are moderate, 4.8 percent are asymptomatic, 14.4 percent are severe and 6 percent are in critical condition.
The active cases account for 0.6 percent of the COVID-19 cases in the country.
Data from the DOH also show that around 800,000 adolescents have been vaccinated with either Pfizer or Moderna as of Nov. 17 since the immunization program was expanded to include 12- to 17-year-olds with comorbidities starting on Oct. 15, and beginning on Nov. 2 for all adolescents.
Out of this number, 580 adolescents experienced adverse reactions after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA said 19 were tagged as serious while the rest reported common reactions such as vaccination or injection site pain, dizziness, headache, increased blood pressure, and tachycardia.
However, the FDA clarified that a report of adverse reactions does not necessarily mean that the vaccine caused the reactions.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.