HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque said on Monday, January 24, that coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-related deaths in the country are increasing amid the surge driven by the Omicron variant.

Duque said from January 1, a total of 594 deaths or an average of 25 fatalities per day have been recorded in the country.

“Mula noong nagtaas tayo noong September ay tuloy-tuloy naman bumaba pero may nakita na naman po tayo dito umpisa ng mid-January ay tumataas na naman po ang ating mga bilang ng pumapanaw,” he said in his report during President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People Address on Monday evening, January 24.

“Hindi ko lang po masyadong makita rito pero iyan po ang ating nakikita, nag-uumpisa na pong tumaas muli ang ating mortality or deaths ‘no based on this curve,” he added.

The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded a total of 3,442,056 Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

The country’s death toll is currently at 53,519, while recoveries were at 3,125,540.

The Philippines experienced a Covid-19 surge in August due to the more infectious Delta variant, which was first detected in the country in July.

The surge was contained sometime in October and decreased from November to December.

Another spike in cases occurred since the beginning of January due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which was first detected in the country in December.

Duque said the Omicron variant is becoming dominant in the samples undergoing genome sequencing.

The country has so far detected a total of 535 Omicron variant cases in the country.

Out of the 714 samples that underwent the latest genome sequencing, 492 or 68 percent were found to be Omicron variants.

“So iyan po ay kinakailangan ay tandaan na kahit anong variant, Mister President, na kumakalat sa bansa ay dapat pa rin natin paigtingin ‘yung ating minimum public health standards (MPHS) na mask, hugas, iwas, airflow, and bakuna,” said Duque.

“At ang ating minimum public health standards kaakibat ang patuloy na pagbabakuna at pabu-booster ay talagang magkatuwang ito, mag-asawa po ito si bakuna at saka MPHS, upang mapababa ang ating mga kaso ng Covid-19,” he added.

Duque earlier said that the country has been downgraded from critical risk classification for Covid-19 to high risk following the significant drop in the national two-week growth rate.

However, 13 regions remain under critical risk classification due to the continuous increase in cases. (SunStar Philippines)