The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday described the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the country as insignificant, stating that these are mild and asymptomatic cases and all are manageable.

The DOH noted 268 average daily cases as of April 3, a 29-percent increase from last week.

'We've been seeing this increase in cases in the different parts of the country. Up until now, it remains to be insignificant,' DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a press briefing.

'We can attribute this to our strengthened wall of immunity because of the vaccines we have against COVID,' the DOH OIC added.

'It only becomes significant when we see that alongside the increase in cases, hospital admissions are also increasing. We tried analyzing these slight increase or spikes in cases in hospitals, and we can see that hospitalizations are still manageable,' she added.

'Just like before, it is not breaching our thresholds wherein there is no need to impose a higher alert response. We know that the virus is here to stay and as long as we know how to protect ourselves, there is no need to worry or to fear,' she said.

'As to hospital bed utilization, we are still at low risk at 16 percent. This is what we're saying that despite the uptick in cases, our hospitals remain manageable,' she said.

'As long as we are vaccinated, we continue to wear masks, we do not need to limit ourselves in the confines of our homes. We can do what we need to do as long as we know how to protect ourselves,' Vergeire said.

The DOH's latest COVID-19 case bulletin showed that from March 27 to April 2, the country has an average of 246 cases daily, or 33 percent higher than cases reported from March 20 to 26.

Religious practices

Even after observing a slight increase in COVID-19 cases in the country recently, the DOH said it is not opposed to religious practices during the Holy Week such as kissing religious statues.

'We don't impose any restriction as to that tradition of kissing religious statues or figurines. It would be up to each and every person to decide if they will be safe doing that act. But if you think that it is not safe for you, then don't do it,' Vergeire said.

'If we kiss these religious figures, you will notice that one of the church people or a sacristan is wiping that part of the statue after being kissed. However, it is not guaranteed that you are safe since the same piece of cloth is being used after it has been kissed again and again,' she said, adding that people can just touch the religious figurine instead of kissing.

The DOH also recommended that senior citizens not engage in fasting this Holy Week.

'Just find alternative ways of showing your faith like abstaining from eating meat or simply praying or going to mass instead of fasting,' Vergeire said.


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