THE Philippines’ coronavirus disease (Covid-19) risk classification has been downgraded from “critical” to “high risk” following the decline of the two-week growth rate, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said on Monday, January 24, 2022.

Duque said the two-week growth rate dropped to 176 percent, which has been considered moderate risk.

But he said the average daily attack rate (Adar) remains high at 25.46 per 100,000 individuals.

“Mataas pa rin dahil lagpas po ito sa seven average daily cases per 100,000 population kaya ang kanyang classification ay high risk. Pero ito po ay bumaba na, dati po critical risk po ito,” he said in his report during President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People Address on Monday evening, January 24.

(The Adar is still high, at seven average daily cases per 100,000 population, so it’s still under high risk classification. But this has gone down from critical.)

He said the national average daily reported cases went down by 18 percent from 34,860 on January 11 to 17 to 28,642 from January 18 to January 24.

“Iyon (January 11 to 17) ‘yung mas mataas ng 70 percent kung ikukumpara sa 20,455 noong linggo bago nito, January 4 to January 10, higher by 689 percent,” said Duque.

(The cases on January 11 to 17 were the highest at 70 percent compared to the 20,455 cases on January 4 to 10, higher by 689 percent.)

“So maliwanag dito, Mister President, ang porsiyento ng pagtaas ng mga kaso ay unti-unti na pong bumababa,” he added.

(So it is clear, Mr. President, that the growth rate is slowly going down.)

Duque said Metro Manila was also downgraded from critical risk to high risk classification following a drop of its two-week growth rate from 7,225 percent to 65 percent.

He said the region’s Adar, however, further increased from 51 to 84.56 per 100,000.

He said if these numbers further decrease in the coming days, quarantine status in Metro Manila can already be deescalated to Alert Level 2 from 3.

Duque said the Covid-19 surge in Metro Manila Plus areas, which include the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite, has reached its peak between January 14 and 15 and is now continuously on a downtrend.

“Sunod naman po ‘yung rest of Luzon, nakikita po natin dito, nag-umpisa na rin pong mag-plateau. Hopefully, ito bumaba na rin in the coming days,” he said.

(We are also seeing that cases in the rest of Luzon are slowly plateauing. Hopefully, this will also decrease in the coming days.)

“Pero ang inoobserbahan po nating maigi, binabantayan natin ang Visayas and Mindanao (But we are closely observing the cases in Visayas and Mindanao),” he added, stressing that cases in these regions were increasing.

Duque said the Bicol Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Western Visayas, Davao Region, Cagayan Valley, Northern Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula, Ilocos Region, Caraga, Central and Eastern Visayas, Calabarzon and Central Luzon remain under critical risk classification for Covid-19.

He said the two-week growth rate and Adar in these areas were further increasing.

The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded a total of 24,938 fresh Covid-19 cases on Monday, January 24, bringing the total number of active cases to 262,997.

Following Metro Manila with the most number of new Covid-19 cases were Calabarzon with 3,469 cases and Central Visayas.

Among the highly urbanized cities, Davao City recorded the highest new cases at 1,759.

In terms of healthcare utilization, Duque said the Philippines is at moderate risk, with 52.1 percent utilization and 51.15 intensive care unit occupancy.

Metro Manila’s health care utilization is at low risk after hospitals in the region further expand their facilities.

Duque said of the 13,959 confirmed Covid-19 admission as of January 23, nine percent or 1,324 were severe cases and four percent or 533 were critical.

He said majority of the cases were mild, which no longer needs hospitalization.

“So patunay ito na ang bakuna talaga ay maganda na ang epekto at ito po ay laking tulong, ang laking proteksiyon dulot ng ating mga bakuna kaya ‘yung mga kahit na tumataas ang kaso natin, humiwalay, bumaklas na po ‘yung severe, critical cases kasi ayan mababa po ang porsiyento ng lahat po ng admissions natin,” said Duque.

(This is proof that vaccination really has helped protect them from severe infection because while the cases are increasing, the number of severe and critical cases is low.)

As of January 24, a total of 123,365,808 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the country.

A total of 57,268,257 individuals have received full doses, while 59,799,215 got their first dose.

Over six million persons also got their booster doses. (SunStar Philippines)