THE Department of Health (DOH) has recorded a 60 percent increase in the daily coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases logged in the country over the past week.

The DOH said from June 27 to July 3, 7,398 new Covid-19 cases were recorded in the country, or 1,057 average daily cases.

This is 60 percent higher than the confirmed cases from June 20 to 26, it said.

Of the new cases, 19 were either critically or severely ill.

Over the past week, the DOH said 74 new deaths due to Covid-19 were validated. Some of the deaths happened in 2021 and early 2022.

Based on the DOH’s Covid-19 tracker, the national positivity rate increased to 6.8 percent.

Positivity rate refers to the number of individuals who came out positive for coronavirus after testing against the total number of people who got tested.

The DOH said the National Capital Region registered the highest positivity rate among all regions in the country at 9.3 percent.

The agency said it is also closely monitoring Calabarzon, Western Visayas, Mimaropa, Cordillera Administrative Region and Central Luzon, whose positivity rates already surpassed the World Health Organization (WHO) benchmark of five percent.

The DOH maintained, though, that there is nothing to worry about the increasing Covid-19 cases, noting that the country’s healthcare utilization remains at low risk.

It said non-intensive care unit facilities were 19.9 percent occupied, while ICU facilities were at 15.3 percent utilization.

“Pinapaalalalahan ang lahat na huwag maging kampante sa banta ng Covid-19. Bagkus, dapat natin ipagpatuloy ang tamang pagsunod sa minimum public health standards sa ilalim ng Alert Level 1,” the DOH said.

“Paalala ng Kagawaran ng Kalusugan na laging magsuot ng best-fitted face mask at kung maari, manatili sa well-ventilated na mga lugar. Sa oras na makaramdam ng sintomas, agad na mag-isolate. Para sa karagdagang proteksyon laban sa banta ng Covid-19, agad-agaran na tayong magpabakuna at booster,” it added.

The DOH said a total 70,780,972 individuals in the country were fully vaccinated while 15,147,905 received booster doses.

Omicron subvariant

The DOH said that in the recent genome sequencing, 43 new BA.5 cases, 20 BA.2.12.1 cases, and seven BA.4 cases were detected. Majority of the cases were local.

These subvariants were reportedly more transmissible than the Omicron variant, the most transmissible strain of Sars-CoV-2, which causes the Covid-19.

But in a press briefing, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. likened the Omicron variant to flu.

“Luckily, we should not look at the number of Covid cases in the same way as we looked at them in 2020 and 2021 because this is Omicron. Omicron is very different, it is a little contagious but it does not hit as hard,” he said.

“That's like flu. That’s like having flu,” he added.

Marcos encouraged the public to get their booster doses, saying that its efficacy to protect a person against the virus has already been proven.

“With Omicron, you apparently need a third booster, a third dose. We will be encouraging that especially for younger people because again, we have to be concerned about their return to school,” he said.

“That’s the general policy. We will reinstitute again the vaccination drives so we could at least feel safer when the children go back to school,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)