PH, Metro Manila down to 'high risk' for COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 24) — The risk classifications of the Philippines and the National Capital Region for COVID-19 have been lowered from "critical risk" to "high risk,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque said Monday night.

Duque explained that the two-week growth rate, or the growth in cases in the span of 14 days, has decreased from 3,661% to 176% nationwide.

In NCR, the rate dropped to only 65% from 7,226%. The average daily attack rate, however, is still high at 84.56%.

Other regions classified as high risk are MIMAROPA, SOCCSKSARGEN, and BARMM.

Duque noted that cases in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, or the NCR Plus, have been declining, while "the rest of Luzon [is] showing signs of plateauing."

He said the Inter-Agency Task Force will meet on Thursday to discuss the possible deescalation of the alert level status in the capital region.

"Maganda po ang nangyayari sa NCR. Talagang mabilis na bumababa. Ganu'n din ang NCR Plus areas," Duque added. "Kung mapababa natin ito sa lalong madaling panahon, pwede na po tayong mag-Alert Level 2 ulit sa NCR."

[Translation: The situation is getting better in NCR. Infections are rapidly decreasing. Same goes for the other NCR Plus areas. If this continues, we can go back to Alert Level 2.]

"Pero ang binabantayan po natin, ang Visayas and Mindanao... Pataas po ang mga kaso," the DOH chief said.

[Translation: But we are closely monitoring the situation in the Visayas and Mindanao. Cases there are on the rise.]

Earlier in the day, Duque said the spike in COVID-19 cases brought by the highly contagious Omicron variant may have already reached its peak in Metro Manila.

READ: Omicron surge has peaked in Metro Manila, DOH chief says

Independent pandemic watchdog OCTA Research, meanwhile, said the wave of infections may be far from over, as cases are only beginning to go up in other regions. It said the surge may end by March or April.