COVID-19 Crisis: OCTA Research concerned over possible surge of new cases if Omicron hits the Philippines

Do you believe that the Philippines is prepared to handle a possible rise of new COVID-19 cases if ever the feared media-magnified Omicron variant hits the country? For some direction, it is important to pay close attention to what OCTA Research said if such a scenario happens and the Manila Bulletin reported their concern. Take note that the Omicron variant is the same variant that spread panic and even caused governments to close their borders.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the statement published by Manila Bulletin. Some parts in boldface…

Independent research group OCTA expressed concern over a possible surge of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases if the Omicron variant finds its way in the Philippines.

Citing the record-high number of cases in South Africa where the variant of concern was first detected, OCTA research fellow Dr. Guido David said that the country reported 37,875 new COVID-19 cases on Dec. 12, 2021 alone.

“This is a new record-high for South Africa. From Nov. 8 to 14, South Africa had an average of 246 new cases. Since then, case jumped to an average of 19,400 over a span of four weeks. The average weekly growth rate over that period was more than 200 percent,” David said in a Twitter post on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

“The reproduction number in South Africa increased from 0.48 to as high as 4.18, with a current value of 2.96. This is higher than the reproduction number during the Delta surge,” he added.

In comparison, David said that the seven-day average in the Philippines is 236, from Dec. 7 to 13, with a reproduction number of 0.14.

Vaccine coverage in the Philippines is 36 percent, while it is currently at 25 percent in South Africa.

“Although vaccine coverage in the Philippines is significantly higher compared to South Africa, the Omicron variant, if it enters the country’s borders, will likely trigger a serious surge of new cases in the Philippines,” David said.

“The bright side is that, based on the information we have at this time, most of the cases will be mild or asymptomatic,” he added.

As you can see in the above report, OCTA Research’s focus on South Africa served as the basis for comparison with the Philippines as well as their concern about what would happen if ever Omicron’s presence gets detected here in the country. It should be noted that the nation authorities have been tracing for passengers who arrived here in the Philippines from South Africa this past November. So far, none of the located passengers tested positive for Omicron although there are still two more passengers who have yet to be found.

Meanwhile, there will be another 3-day nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive and it has been reported that there will be sufficient supplies of vaccines for it. While a lot more Filipinos have been moving around and businesses are serving much more customers physically present at their respective venues, the daily count of new COVID-19 infections is still in the hundreds and the total number of people declared fully vaccinated (injected with two doses of most vaccines) has surpassed the 40,000,000 mark nationwide. There is also optimism that Christmas this year will be more joyful for families.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What can you say about these newest developments related to the Omicron variant? Are you convinced that the national, local and community authorities are ready to make adjustments in the event the Omicron variant causes a spike in new COVID-19 infections? Do you think that the Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will be able to react decisively on managing Metro Manila?  

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.


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