DEPARTMENT of Health (DOH) spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Monday, June 20, 2022, that they are seeing a beginning of a peak of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the country.

Vergeire said they are closely monitoring cases especially in Metro Manila, which is experiencing a fast and sharp increase in cases.

She said there is about a 70 percent increase in the number of cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) over the past week, while the average daily attack rate already rose to 1.02.

“Right now, what we're seeing is that the number of cases is continuously increasing, especially here in the National Capital Region, and we can see that this is really the start of the peak in the number of cases,” Vergeire said.

“We are again guiding the public and making them aware that this might be the start that the cases will continuously rise in the next couple of weeks,” she added.

Vergeire refused, however, to call it a surge to avoid causing confusion to the public.

She said they are also monitoring Covid-19 cases in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas and Northern Mindanao.

Vergeire said the increase in cases could be due to the entry of highly transmissible Omicron subvariants, the complacency of the public given the increase in mobility, and the waning immunity from the protection being given by Covid-19 vaccines.

She urged the public to get their booster doses to strengthen their protection against the fatal effects of the virus.

Vergeire said over 41 million individuals who are eligible to get booster doses have yet to get it.

The Philippines has achieved its target of fully vaccinating 70 million individuals against Covid-19.

As of June 19, the country had a total caseload of 3,696,264 with 60,467 deaths.

Of the confirmed cases, 4,529 were active cases. The daily average cases were at 240.

The healthcare utilization, which is the major factor for the de-escalation or escalation of alert status in an area, is at 20.3 percent for non-intensive care unit beds and 16.6 percent for ICU beds.

The DOH said 498 cases are currently under severe and critical conditions. (SunStar Philippines)