1ST SUNDAY OF LENT. Catholics hear Mass at St. Joseph Parish Church in Quezon City for the first Sunday of Lent (March 6, 2022). Religious gatherings and churches are now allowed full capacity in Metro Manila and other areas under Alert Level 1. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Mar 7 (Mabuhay) — Pandemic monitoring group OCTA Research on Sunday reminded the public to continue following health protocols and get booster shots if eligible as it warned of a possible resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the next months.

The country has been reporting fewer than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for the past few days but “things can still change,” said OCTA fellow Guido David.

“Technically, we can say the worst is over for now pero (but) things can still change,” David said.

“Maybe by April or May, we are vulnerable again,” he said, explaining that the country usually experiences a surge after every three months.

The possible surge can be triggered by COVID-19 variants, the public’s failure to comply with minimum health standards, large gatherings during campaign rallies, and waning immunity.

“All these factors… It could cause a resurgence. Maybe not as big, but it could be a significant resurge of cases if we’re not careful,” he said.

Still, the group is expecting the number of new cases to drop to 500 per day by the end of March, David said.

Metro Manila and other parts of the country recently shifted to Alert Level 1, the least restrictive in a 5-tier system that dictates COVID-19 protocols.

On Saturday, the Philippines recorded 941 new COVID-19 infections. It also reported a 3.8-percent positivity rate, the lowest so far this year.

David explained that the COVID situation cannot be considered “endemic” yet because cases continue to rise in other territories, such as in neighboring Hong Kong and South Korea.

“Hindi pa tayo makapagsabi na endemic na if mataas pa ‘yong cases all over the world. We’re not independent or isolated from the rest of the world. Whatever happens outside the country will affect us at some point,” he said.

The country last experienced a surge from late December until January due to the omicron variant, although it did not significantly affect the health system as majority of the cases remained mild.

More than 63 million people in the Philippines are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while over 62.2 million others have received their first dose.

More than 10.13 million booster doses have also been administered. (MNS)

READ NEXT: En banc ruling on Marcos DQ cases out ‘soon’