By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter
THE GOVERNMENT is unlikely to tighten the lockdown in the Philippine capital and nearby cities this month despite rising coronavirus infections, researchers from the country’s premier university said on Thursday.
Daily infections could only go as high as 500 in the capital region by end-June, while cases nationwide could hit 2,000 — far below the 6,000 threshold that would spur a higher alert level, OCTA Research fellow Fredegusto P. David told One News Channel.
“It is farfetched for nationwide cases to hit 6,000 per day, but we are monitoring them because the trajectory can change,” he added.
He said the virus reproduction and positivity rates — 1.56 and 3.3% — in Metro Manila have yet to increase significantly.
Mr. David said the health use rate in Metro Manila was still low at 23.%.
The capital region has been under Alert Level 1 — the most relaxed in a five-tier system — since March after a drop in daily coronavirus infections. An inter-agency task force has recommended to extend this until June 30.
The OCTA fellow traced the recent increase in infections to new Omicron subvariants and the waning immunity among vaccinated Filipinos, among other things.
Most people admitted to private hospitals suffer from non-coronavirus conditions, Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines President Jose Rene de Grano told a televised news briefing. Member hospitals have yet to see a significant increase in COVID-19 admissions, he added.
“The hospital utilization rate for COVID-19 patients among our members is not that high yet,” he said. “Our non-COVID admissions have been increasing.”
He said sick people have started visiting hospitals amid relaxed quarantine restrictions. Mr. De Grano said about 600 member hospitals would have a hard time dealing with a potential infection surge if they can’t boost their nursing staff.
About half of their nurses have…
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