The country is ready for a possible Omicron variant wave which Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said seems to be upon the Philippines as the Covid-19 infections continue to increase.
“Well, it looks like the Omicron wave is upon us,” Vega, also the country treatment czar, said in a television interview on Monday.
Vega said the Philippines has been experiencing a “steady increase” in terms of the Omicron just like what happened across South Africa and Europe.
“Our numbers have doubled and this is the start and we are very sure that this will peak. When it will crest down and decelerate, we don’t know. But what is very important is that we are prepared for this omicron virus,” he said.
For the last two days, the Department of Health (DOH) reported more than 4,000 new daily cases, including 4,600 logged on Sunday, the highest infections since the country’s lowest 168 new cases recorded on Dec. 21, 2021.
While the Omicron variant causes mild symptoms, Vega emphasized its high transmissibility factor may bring a large volume of infected patients.
“We are preparing our health systems capacity, our testing, our isolation so that we are all prepared for another ride in the waves of this Omicron virus,” he said.
He added the government is also preparing its temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMFs).
“We only have about 115 TTMF beds all over the country. That means if you have an exponential growth in this Omicron, we might have problems in terms of isolation or quarantining these Covid-positive patients,” he said.
Earlier, the DOH said a surge or peak of Omicron infections can be delayed through public health interventions – proper wearing of face masks, social distancing, frequent and proper handwashing, good indoor ventilation, and vaccination.
In a separate online media forum on Monday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reported 11 imported and three local cases of Omicron variant.
She said of the 11 cases, nine are returning overseas Filipinos while none of the cases presented severe symptoms or had resulted to fatality as they were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.
“All reported local Omicron cases – located and traced – have completed the minimum 10-day isolation and have been tagged as recovered prior to the release of the whole genome results,” Vergeire said.