DAILY coronavirus infections in Manila, the capital and nearby cities could hit as many as 1,000 by end-June, putting it under a moderate risk classification, according to a local research group.

Cases are unlikely to decline significantly anytime soon, OCTA Research Group fellow Fredegusto P. David told a televised news briefing on Tuesday.

“At that point, we can say that our cases are slightly higher,” he said. “That is possible to happen by the end of June or first week of July based on our projections.”

The new infection peak could happen in the first or second week of July, he added. The average daily attack rate in Metro Manila might increase to 1.7 from 1.6.

Metro Manila, an economic powerhouse that is home to more than 13 million people, is under the first level in a five-tier alert system, which is being updated every 15 days.

Despite increasing infections, the hospital use rate in Metro Manila remained low, Mr. David said, adding that health authorities were unlikely to raise the alert to Level 2.

Mr. David separately tweeted that the seven-day daily average in Metro Manila had risen to 225 from June 14 to 20 from 131. The one-week growth rate in the region slightly increased to 72% from 71%, he added.

Mr. David said the positivity rate in Metro Manila was 4%, while the region’s hospital  occupancy rate remained low at 22%.

“Forecasts show hospital bed occupancy will remain manageable and no escalation of alert levels at this time.”

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire on Monday noted that only the National Capital Region (NCR) had experienced a significant rise in infections.

The average daily infections in the capital region had risen to 255 from about 100, while the positivity rate increased to 4.4%, she told One News Channel.

“Here in NCR, [the increase is] already significant,” she said. “This morning, I had an interview and I only reported about 130 average daily cases in the NCR,” she told the Monday evening interview.  “When we received the reports this afternoon, when we analyzed them, we saw that the average daily cases in NCR reached 255.”

The positivity rate in the region increased to 4.4% from 2.9%, Ms. Vergeire said. This means that Metro Manila’s positivity rate is now close to the 5% benchmark set by the World Health Organization.

The Philippines posted 3,051 infections from June 13 to 19, 82% higher than a week earlier, health authorities said on Monday. Of the total, fewer than 1% or 15 were critical. 

The Health department said 385 or 14.6% of the country’s intensive care unit (ICU) beds had been used as of June 19, while 4,033 or 18.2% of non-ICU beds were occupied.

It added that 554 severe and critical coronavirus patients or 10.2% of total admissions were staying in hospitals.

President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has yet to lay down his actual plan to bail the country out of the pandemic.

He has also yet to name his Health chief, who will play key roles in the country’s pandemic response.

About 70 million Filipinos had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as of June 19, while 14.85 million people have received booster shots. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza