Read this in The Manila Times digital edition.
The Department of Health (DoH) is convinced that the declining numbers of Covid-19 cases is due to the dropping output of testing laboratories and not because of an actual downturn in cases.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also reiterated Monday it was inconclusive to say that the surge in cases that was being driven by the highly infectious Delta variant had reached its peak.
“I cannot be certain of that; we cannot give a definite answer if the peak was there or if the decline is confirmed… pinag-aaralan natin ito if artificial ba itong decline na ito (we are studying if this is an artificial decline) because of the decrease in testing output,” she said.
In the National Capital Region, the number of tests is down by 14.1 percent, from 266,042 in the previous week to 228,659 tests in the week ending October 1.
Vergeire said six municipalities reported a drop in testing for the past two weeks. Four of them, Caloocan, Pasig, Pateros and Mandaluyong, attributed the lower caseload to fewer contacts being detected.
In Parañaque City, the number of tests were due to limited testing by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
Pasay City, meanwhile, reported a decrease in the number of tests after it shifted to antigen testing.
Vergeire said the DoH needed more time to get a clearer picture of the Covid-19 situation.
Testing czar Vivencio Dizon attributed the falling number of cases to the continued drop in the number of close contacts, especially after the country began “risk-based” testing or testing for those with a high possibility of Covid-19 exposure.
The country’s average daily number of cases was 14,705 cases per day from September 27 to October 3. In Metro Manila, there were only 3,121 new cases reported per day, 28-percent lower than the previous week’s count.
The region has a moderate-risk classification, although its intensive care unit bed capacity is still a high 75 percent.
The Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos, Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Zamboanga and Bicol regions are classified as high-risk areas.
The national reproduction number is 0.8824, and the NCR’s is 0.8222.
Vergeire said the Philippine Genome Center was preparing to expand its sequencing capacity to 1,500 samples after the World Health Organization recently donated extraction machines and sequencing kits to the center.