MANILA, Apr 27 (Mabuahy) — Despite predictions that Covid-19 cases will increase anew amid loosened restrictions and campaign-related mass gatherings, OCTA Research projected a low hospitalization rate due to high vaccination coverage.

OCTA Research fellow Dr. Ranjit Rye urged the public during Tuesday’s “Laging Handa” public briefing to complete their primary Covid-19 vaccine series and get boosted as “there is a very big possibility of cases going up”.

Rye said a new surge is “inevitable” now that the economy has reopened and new coronavirus subvariants continue to emerge abroad.

“Importante ho na, kung gusto nating ligtas tayo at tuluy-tuloy ho iyong kaunlaran, tuluy-tuloy po iyong kabuhayan ay magpa-booster po tayo. So, iyon ho ang panawagan namin and of course, sumunod doon sa minimum public health standards (It is important that if we want to be safe and want continuous progress, we should avail of booster shots. Of course, to also adhere to minimum public health standards),” he said.

Rye’s colleague, Dr. Guido David, said it is unlikely the increase in cases will be as high as when the Omicron variant-fueled surge in January because of the country’s massive vaccination coverage.

“It could happen anytime,” David said, referring to a fresh surge.

David said they foresee active cases going up to between 50,000 to 100,000.

So far, about 67 million Filipinos have completed the primary series of Covid-19 jabs but only 12.97 million have availed of booster shots.

The country’s daily average Covid-19 cases went down to 209 on April 18 to 24, or 12 percent lower than new infections the previous week, the Department of Health reported Monday.

The latest case bulletin showed 1,456 new infections but without addition to severe and critical cases, which stood at 726 last week.

Only 16.9 percent or 479 of the 2,841 intensive care unit beds are in use.

OCTA Research is against lockdowns in the event of a new surge as the country’s improved pandemic response can handle it.

Rye said it is up to the public not to allow a fresh surge by sticking to protocols and getting vaccinated, including booster shots.

“Ang vaccination po ay medyo extensive na ho ang naabot. Kulang pa pero sa tingin namin ay maaabot iyan by June bago bumaba si President [Rodrigo] Duterte (The vaccination has been quite extensive. Not yet enough but we think it can be reached before President Duterte steps down from office by June),” Rye said.

He said areas with low vaccination coverage are most vulnerable to Covid-19 upticks.

“Sa ating mga kababayan, lagi tayo dapat mag-iingat pa lalo. Hindi pwedeng mag-kumpiyansa dahil nandyan pa ang Covid (To our countrymen, let’s keep safe always. It’s not yet time to be complacent because Covid still exists),” he said. (MNS)

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