Serious surge of infections likely if Omicron enters PH — Octa Research
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will likely face a “serious surge” of COVID-19 infections should the Omicron variant enter the country’s borders, a member of independent pandemic monitor Octa Research said on Tuesday.
Octa Research fellow Dr. Guido David made the remark as he noted the spiking COVID-19 cases in South Africa, where Omicron was first detected.
“South Africa reported 37,875 new Covid-19 cases on December 12, 2021. This is a new record high for South Africa. From November 8 to 14, South Africa had an average of 246 new cases,” David said on Twitter.
“Since then, cases jumped to an average of 19,400 over a span of four weeks. The average weekly growth rate over that period was more than 200%,” he added.
12.14.21. New Covid-19 cases in South Africa reach new highs due to omicron variant. If the omicron enters the Philippines, a serious surge of infections is likely. @dzbb @allangatus @dzrhnews @DZAR1026 @News5PH @NewsRmn @ABSCBNNews @EagleNews @MlaStandard @haydeesampang @dwiz882 pic.twitter.com/K3bzQmHCCJ
— Dr. Guido David (@iamguidodavid) December 14, 2021
South Africa’s COVID-19 reproduction number swelled from 0.48 to 4.18, “with a current value of 2.96.”
David said that “this is higher than the reproduction number during the [D]elta surge.”
The reproduction number is the average number of persons being infected by one positive case. Ideal reproduction number should be less than one to indicate lesser spread of the virus, health experts say.
South Africa’s vaccine coverage is currently at 25 percent, David said.
Compared to the Philippines, the country’s seven-day average is 236 from December 7 to 13 with a reproduction number of 0.14. Vaccine coverage stood at 36 percent.
“Although vaccine coverage in the Philippines is significantly higher compared to South Africa, the omicron variant, if it enters the country’s borders, will likely trigger a serious surge of new cases in the Philippines,” David pointed out.
“The bright side is that, based on the information we have at this time, most of the cases will be mild or asymptomatic,” he continued.
The Philippines has banned inbound flights from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy until December 15 to prevent the possible entry of the Omicron variant.
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