(Screenshot from Laging Handa Public Briefing /PTV)

An infectious disease expert has reminded the public not to neglect following the health protocols even though the gradual decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases has been recorded in the past two weeks.

During the Laging Handa public briefing, infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante said that although the number of COVID-19 cases is down, Omicron subvariant BA.5 continues to be recorded.

“What we see here is that there is a downtrend compared to last week. But if you notice, the downtrend is so slow. So what does this indicate? This indicates that there is still ongoing community transmission,” according to Solante.

As of Monday, Aug. 29, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,573 new cases of COVID-19. This is the fourth consecutive day that new cases are below 3,000.

Last week, the average daily new cases was 2,752.

This is 19 percent less than the 3,412 average daily cases last week.

Based on recent data, out of 147 COVID-19 Omicron variant cases, 139 of them were BA.5 subvariant.

According to Solante, although 90 percent of BA.5 are mild cases especially in the younger population, the elderly and those with pre-existing illnesses should still be careful.

Solante added that it is possible that the DOH’s projection will reach 9,000 cases per day by the end of September due to the face-to-face classes.

“Yes, I fully agree with that [projection]. Because we can see that with this BA.5, [our COVID-19 cases] are taking a long time to decrease. So there is also a possibility that [the case count] will rise again, especially since mobility will increase and there will be more different forms of gatherings,” according to Solante.

Solante reminded again that aside from vaccination and boosters against COVID-19, following health protocols is very vital to protect oneself against the more infectious Omicron subvariants.

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