• The health department logged a total of 3,148 cases last week
  • This number translates to an average of 450 daily infections daily from April 17 to 23
  • A DOH official attributed the uptick in cases to increased mobility of the population

A notable rise in COVID-19 cases has prompted the Department of Health (DOH) to urge Filipinos to get booster shots to prevent further spread of the virus.

The health department logged a total of 3,148 cases last week, which translates to an average of 450 daily infections daily from April 17 to 23. The number is 32% higher compared to the previous week, DOH Epidemiology Bureau Director Dr. Alethea De Guzman said, according to the Manila Standard.

"We need more boosters for our targeted population — among senior citizens, only 82% are fully vaccinated, and only 30% of our target population have received boosters," De Guzman said during a radio interview, as per the outlet.

De Guzman attributed the rise in COVID-19 cases to increased mobility of the population, as more countries have relaxed their restrictions and reopened their borders for travelers.

Out of the 3,148 people who tested positive for the virus last week, 14 were either seriously or critically ill. There were 3,255 COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals on Monday and out of this number, 345 were in serious or critical condition, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

Despite the uptick in the number of cases, the utilization of hospital beds allocated for COVID-19 patients remained below the 20% low-risk threshold.

Meanwhile, the DOH reported Tuesday that the first case of Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16 had been detected in Western Visayas. The department did not provide further details about the said case.

"The variant was initially flagged due to its increasing global prevalence and for having mutations which may lead to increase in infectivity or pathogenicity," the DOH said.

"The variant has been detected in 33 countries or jurisdictions across six continents, according to sequence submissions in Global initiative on sharing avian flu data," it added.

Current studies on XBB.1.16 does not show differences in severity and clinical manifestations compared with the original Omicron variant.

The call for vaccinations comes more than a month after it was reported that around 8 million COVID-19 vaccines would expire from March to October of this year. The number did not include vaccines destroyed by fire, temperature excursions, natural disasters and related incidents, the DOH said, according to the Philippine News Agency.

The department added that the damaged vaccines were disposed of according to the standards set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Vial of vaccine
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