Health Secretary Francisco Duque III – PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III claimed that the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) surge caused by the contagious Omicron variant has already reached its peak in Metro Manila. 

Duque said during a media briefing that the number of new infections in the capital region is starting to decrease. 

“Lumalabas nag-peak na. Nakikita nating ilang araw nang sunod-sunod na bumababa ang kaso ng NCR at lumiliit ang porsyentong inaambag nito sa ating total caseload,” he added.

While noticing a similar trend, Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH is cautious to make such declarations since the Covid-19 count might be underreported with more Filipinos refusing to get tested. 

“(It) looks like we have reached the highest number of cases in Metro Manila and slowly cases are going down. But as I have said, we have to be cautious because we do not have the complete picture here because we have not seen those using the antigen and those individuals that are having symptoms or have been exposed but did not have any tests at all,” she said during an interview with CNN Philippines.

Meanwhile, the DOH said that with other government agencies, they are still assessing the metrics before reaching a decision if Metro Manila is ready to return to Alert Level 2 by February. 

Vergeire added that the average daily attack rate and two-week growth rate are still high. Hospital bed use, on the other hand, remains at moderate risk.

“Based on these different parameters that we use, I think it is still very early for us to say that we can de-escalate NCR as of this time,” she added. Ronald Espartinez