Duque: Spread of COVID-19 slowing down, but PH still at critical risk

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 18) — The COVID-19 growth rate in the country is slowing down, but the country is still at critical risk, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Bumabagal, bumababa na po ang prosyento ng pagtaas ng mga kaso,” Duque said in a televised briefing Monday night.

[Translation: The growth rate is slowing down and going down.]

He noted that infections have started to plateau, but it is still unknown whether cases will decline or spike again.

Duque reported that the country had an average of 314 cases during the week of Dec. 21 to Dec. 27. It surged by 725% with 2,592 cases during the week of Dec. 28 to Jan. 3, then rose by 689% with 20,462 cases the following week.

From Jan. 11 to Jan. 17, average daily reported cases only increased by 71% with 34,923 infections.

Duque noted that while the COVID-19 growth rate is slowing down in the Philippines, the whole country—particularly Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon and Calabarzon—is still at critical risk.

He also reported that 90% of samples were positive for the Omicron variant based on the latest genome sequencing. This is a big jump from last week’s 60%.

President Rodrigo Duterte said he hopes infections will start to plateau as COVID-19 remains as the “number one threat to the Filipino today, aside from the NPA (National People’s Army) and the terrorists.”

The country logged 37,070 new cases on Monday, bringing nationwide tally to over 3.24 million.