DOH: Anticipated surge in COVID-19 may be seen in mid-January

( - January 4, 2021 - 3:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health said it can only be determined whether there was a post-holiday surge in coronavirus infections in the country by mid-January as more testing laboratories resume their operations Monday.

The government is anticipating a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Philippines after the holiday season as more people went out of their homes to shop and visit their relatives during Christmas and New Year celebrations.

But health authorities could not yet determine the effects of the holiday season on COVID-19 transmission due to the temporary halt in the operations of some testing centers. Fewer people also had themselves tested for the coronavirus during the holidays.

These factors affected the reporting of cases during the holiday season. In a briefing Monday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said outputs from testing hubs dropped to around 22,000 day from an average of 36,000 submissions daily

As a result, the agency observed a 5% decrease in the number of daily cases in the entire country. In outbreak epicenter Metro Manila, there was a 4% drop in reported cases.

“We are expecting, if and when, this surge will really happen, it will be seen in mid-January,” Vergeire said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“Maybe that is when cases will increase as laboratories would be fully functional and fully operational starting today,” she added.

The Philippine government is also keeping its guard up against the new and more transmissible variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.

It imposed travel restrictions on 21 countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, in a bid to prevent the new strain from entering the archipelago.

The Philippines has so far recorded 477,807 COVID-19 cases, including 9,257 deaths. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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