(MNS photo)

MANILA, Jan 3 (Mabuhay) –Downgrading the alert level in the country was too sudden because it increased mobility, which may have caused COVID-19 infections to rise, Dr. Maricar Limpin, head of the Philippine College of Physicians, said Sunday.

The national government decided to place the country under a less strict Alert Level 2 from January 1 to 15, 2022.

But starting on Monday, January 3, Metro Manila will be under a stricter Alert Level 3 until January 15.

But Limpin said lowering the alert level system allowed more businesses to open which could encourage more people to go out and gather.

“Siguro masyadong mabilis ang pagbaba ng alert level. Kahit bumaba siguro ang alert level, medyo marami ang in-allow natin  na lumabas na maraming tao,” said Limpin, adding that the movement of people should be contained.

She added that more children also went out amid the loose restrictions even if they have yet to be vaccinated versus COVID-19.

“Katulad ng mga bata in-allow ho natin ‘yan. Marami sa mga bata ‘di nakasunod sa minimum public health standards at social distancing. Isa po ‘yan,” Limpin pointed out.

Unvaccinated younger kids are more vulnerable to infection, Limpin said. She added that she even encountered a child as young as six months who tested positive for the disease.

“Ang sa akin, nakita ko anim na buwan pa lang nag-positive na ho (I even found a six-month-old child who tested positive for COVID-19),” she disclosed.

On New Year’s Day, the Philippines posted 3,617 new COVID-19 infections after documenting below 1,000 new infections in the past months.

The COVID-19 reproduction number in the National Capital Region (NCR) has climbed to 4.05, the highest since April 1, 2020, while the positivity rate jumped to 28%, according to the OCTA Research group on Saturday.

Reproduction rate refers to the number of people infected by one case. A reproduction number that is below 1 indicates that the transmission of the virus is slowing down. The positivity rate meanwhile refers to the percentage of people who were found positive for COVID-19 among the total number of individuals tested.

The Department of Health (DOH) previously recommended to the public to comply with public health standards, adding that the uptick in cases is expected in holidays.

Booster

To increase protection against severe infection, Limpin advised the fully vaccinated public to get booster shots if they are already eligible for it.

“Kailangan talaga ng booster shot para ma-augment po ‘yung kanilang protection against virus (Boosters can augment the protection against the virus),” she said.

Currently, most patients in intensive care units are unvaccinated against COVID-19, Limpin said.

Hospitals are also reporting infected health workers, mostly nurses, she added.

The Philippines failed to achieve its target to vaccinate 54 million Filipinos by the end of 2021 as only more than 49 million Filipinos completed their COVID-19 vaccination. (MNS)

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