Department of Health reports low COVID-19 risk in the Philippines despite increasing cases

Health officials reported a slight increase in COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, but assured the public that all regions in the country remain at low risk for transmission. The Department of Health (DOH) stated that the uptick in cases was smaller than previous increases and that there is no need for travel restrictions at this time.

From May 7 to 13, a total of 877 new infections were reported, with an average of 125 cases per day. The DOH also confirmed five deaths during the same period. Despite these numbers, hospital occupancy for COVID-19 patients remains low, with only 11% of ICU beds and 13% of non-ICU beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients currently occupied.

In addition, the DOH is closely monitoring new variants of the virus, particularly in light of global trends. Recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted three new variants – JN.1.18, KP.2, and KP.3 – which are descendants of the variant of interest JN.1.

The agency emphasized that there is currently no evidence linking the KP.2 and KP.3 variants to severe or critical COVID-19 cases. However, further assessment is needed to determine their transmissibility and ability to evade immune responses.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, the DOH reminded the public to practice good respiratory hygiene, wash hands regularly, avoid crowded places, and ensure proper airflow and ventilation. It also advised individuals who feel unwell to stay at home and wear a mask if they need to go out.

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