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Manila, other urban areas tagged as ‘high risk’   

RESIDENTS belonging to A1-A5 categories line up for their first dose of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at the Caloocan Central Elementary School. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter 

A GROUP of public health researchers on Wednesday flagged a “significant” increase in daily coronavirus infections Manila and Makati, neighboring cities within the capital region.    

In its latest monitoring report, the OCTA Research Group said coronavirus infection rates remain high in the capital city of Manila at 1.21, and Makati, a central business district, at 1.24.   

Coronavirus infections in Manila increased to 109 from 82 in the previous week, it said.  

Cases in Makati rose to 74 from 55 and it has been tagged as a “high risk” area. 

The adjacent city of Taguig was also considered as a high risk area.  

OCTA also marked as high risk several urban areas outside the capital region due to a spike in daily cases, high average daily attack rate, or high utilization rate of intensive care facilities.  

Overall, OCTA said the Philippines and the National Capital Region remain under “moderate” risk for the coronavirus.  

About 54% of intensive care unit beds in the country were in use as of July 20, Palace Spokesperson Herminio L. Roque, Jr. told a televised news briefing on Wednesday. 

About 46% of isolation beds and about 43% of ward beds were occupied, he added.  

Meanwhile, the Philippines was set to take delivery on Wednesday of about 562,770 doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer, Inc., Mr. Roque said at the same briefing. The shipment was paid for by the Philippine government.  

About 1.5 million doses of CoronaVac developed by Sinovac Biotech Ltd. will arrive on Thursday and another one million doses on Friday, he added.  

Mr. Roque said about 15.6 million coronavirus vaccines have been given out. Of these, 10.58 million were first doses and about 5.3 million were second doses.  

The Health department on Tuesday said eight Filipinos who supposedly recovered from the more contagious coronavirus variant first detected in India have tested positive again. The cases were considered active.  

Rontgene Solante, infectious disease specialist and former president of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, said the Pfizer shot and the vaccines made by AstraZeneca Plc, Moderna, Inc., and Janssen Pharmaceuticals are “very stable” against the Delta variant.  

All vaccines remain effective against variants of concern, Mr. Solante said, noting that CoronaVac is still effective against the Delta variant. 

“Even with your CoronaVac, since it’s also active against the Alpha variant, we can also surmise with the same mechanism and Alpha spike protein antibody production, it can also withstand the Delta variant,” he said at the same briefing.  

The Department of Health (DoH) reported 6,560 coronavirus infections on Wednesday, bringing the total to 1.52 million. 

The death toll rose to 26,874 after 32 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 5,364 to 1.44 million, it said in a bulletin. 

There were 47,996 active cases, 92.1% of which were classified as mild, 1.8% were asymptomatic, 2.6% were severe, 1.84% were moderate and 1.6% were critical. 

The DoH said 14 duplicates had been removed from the tally, eight of which were tagged as recoveries and two were reclassified as deaths. The agency said 30 recoveries were reclassified as deaths.   

Four laboratories failed to submit data on July 19.