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DOH sees spike in COVID-19 cases in regions outside NCR

/ 10:59 AM January 12, 2022
Minors receive COVID-19 vaccines at a facility in Ilocos Norte province

Minors receive COVID-19 vaccines at a facility in Ilocos Norte province. (Photo courtesy of Ilocos Norte provincial government)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has observed “spikes” in COVID-19 cases in some regions outside Metro Manila, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Wednesday.

According to Duque, the increase in cases was observed in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), Central Luzon, the Ilocos Region, and Cagayan Valley.

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“NCR, Regions 4A, 3, now I think even Region 1 and Region 2 are also registering spikes in cases. That is why I call upon our regional directors of DOH, the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), and the local government units in these areas to ramp up more aggressively the vaccination of their citizens,” he said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay online forum.

“So the answer to that is yes, we are starting to see spikes in neighboring regions and that is what we have observed,” he added.

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Duque said this when asked to confirm a statement from OCTA Research fellow Guido David that COVID-19 cases may be increasing outside Metro Manila. Over Twitter, David said the region recorded 15,445 new COVID-19 cases on January 11, which represent 55 percent of new cases in the country. On January 4, Metro Manila contributed 71 percent of the country’s new cases.

The DOH has so far confirmed 43 cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Twenty-one of these were detected locally while the rest were from returning overseas Filipinos.

“It’s possible that Omicron [is causing the increase]… but it is possible that it is not just because of Omicron but a combination of factors: because of the holiday surge, increased social mobility, nagparty ang mga tao, kumain, nag-imbita sa mga bahay (people partied and invited people at their houses),” said Duque.

“It’s a combination of factors rather than just one,” the Health Chief noted.

The Philippines now has 181,016 active cases of COVID-19, including 28,007 new cases reported on Tuesday, the third-highest since the start of the pandemic. The country is currently classified critical risk for COVID-19 as its confirmed cases reached over three million.

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Department of Health, DoH, Francisco Duque, Omicron, Omicron variant
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