IATF adviser Salvaña sees no need to raise alert level over rising COVID cases

IATF adviser Salvaña sees no need to raise alert level over rising COVID cases
Children aged 12 to 17 receive their booster shot at Marikina Sports Complex on Monday, July 4, 2022.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — An adviser to the pandemic task force recommended that the government keeps Alert Level 1 across most of the country even as COVID-19 cases rise, saying that this is not a cause for alarm while the number of severe cases and hospital utilization rates remain low.

Dr. Edsel Salvaña, who is an infectious diseases expert, said vaccines against the coronavirus have kept severe COVID-19 cases low, protecting the healthcare system from being overwhelmed.

“Because of vaccines, because of boosting, severe cases remain low,” Salvaña said partly in Filipino over state-run People’s Television on Tuesday. “Even if cases increase to 2,000 or 5,000, we don’t expect it to overwhelm the healthcare system and we do not need to lock down.”

Most of the country, including Metro Manila will remain under Alert Level 1 until July 15.

From June 27 to July 3, COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose by 60% to 7,398 additional cases from 4,634 cases logged from June 20 to 26, according to the Department of Health.

But of the total cases 497 or only 8.4% of total COVID-19 patients have severe and critical disease, while 15.3% of 2,487 beds in intensive care units are in use and only 19.9% of non-ICU beds are in use.

“Don’t panic. Nothing good ever comes out of panicking,” Salvaña said.

He said people should continue using masks and get boosted against the coronavirus if they have not done so already.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. still has not appointed a health chief amid the ongoing pandemic, but the DOH said Monday that its senior career officials are leading its COVID-19 response and other operations in the meantime. — Xave Gregorio



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