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DOH: 'Upward trend' in COVID-19 cases in Visayas, Mindanao
Soldiers and health workers guarding an anti-COVID-19 checkpoint in Maguindanao province.
Philstar.com/John Unson

DOH: 'Upward trend' in COVID-19 cases in Visayas, Mindanao

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - May 18, 2021 - 3:19pm

MANILA, Philippines — While COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces are going down, parts of Visayas and Mindanao are seeing an uptick in infections, the Department of Health said Tuesday.

Alethea de Guzman, director of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, said COVID-19 cases in the so-called “NCR Plus” are decreasing and are lower than the figures recorded during the start of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in March.

The capital region and Central Luzon are seeing a “marked decline” in infections. Cases in other parts of Luzon are also decreasing but at a slower pace.

On the other hand, there is an upward trend in COVID-19 infections in Visayas and Mindanao.

“Cases are not rapidly increasing but we are already seeing a rise,” de Guzman said in Filipino during a briefing.

She said the following regions are seeing increases in their average daily attack rate (ADAR):

  • Zamboanga Peninsula
  • Western Visayas
  • Mimaropa
  • CARAGA
  • Northern Mindanao
  • Soccksargen
  • Bicol region
  • Davao region
  • Eastern Visayas
  • Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

ADAR refers to the number of new cases in an area over a two-week period, divided by the population there.

De Guzman said the agency is closely monitoring the situation in the Zamboanga Peninsula, where the attack rate is at 6.10. Once the ADAR of an area exceeds 7, the risk of getting COVID-19 there is higher.

The increase in cases is being observed in highly urbanized or independent component cities, the health official said, noting these are areas with “looser restrictions.”

“As we loosen our restrictions, let’s not forget wearing masks and observing physical distance,” De Guzman said.

The DOH is not yet recommending more stringent quarantine restrictions in the regions as healthcare facilities there are still capable of managing COVID-19 cases.

The Philippines, which has one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Southeast Asia, has tallied 1.14 million cases, including 19,262 deaths.

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