Dr. Ted Herbosa (Screengrab from RTVM/PCOO)

MANILA – The government would resort to localized lockdowns should there be an increase in Covid-19 cases after the May 9 elections, an adviser of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) said Wednesday.

In a televised Laging Handa public briefing, Dr. Ted Herbosa said the country already knew how to respond to the threats of Covid-19 and this can be gleaned from the past two years.

"Ibig sabihin nun ay maliit na lugar lamang, kung talagang napakataas ng antas ng new cases sa isang barangay, yun lang ang ating ila-lockdown (That means the lockdown would cover certain areas only, we'll lockdown a barangay if its cases are really high)," he added.

The NTF considers lockdowns only when the healthcare system collapses.

In case of Covid-19 surge, hospitals are ready to expand their capacities -- allocating more beds for Covid-19 patients.

Herbosa said hospitals are saving their personal protective equipment and other resources for a potential surge in infections by mid-May.

"Hopefully, being vaccinated would be the first defense na magagamit natin, kung boosted tayo at vaccinated, less ang chance na mangailangan na ma-ospital (we'll use, if we're boosted and vaccinated, there is less chance for the need to be hospitalized)," he added.

Earlier, the OCTA Research Group said an increase in new Covid-19 cases has been seen in certain areas.

It added the cases could reach 5,000 to 10,000 a day once the new Omicron subvariants enter the country.

More than the election campaign sorties, Herbosa said increased mobility of individuals under Alert Level 1 could be the main driver of the increase in cases.

"Nakita niyo naman wala na tayong tsini-check na vaccination card, contact tracing form pag pumasok tayo sa pampublikong lugar, mas maraming public transport na sinasakyan, talagang mas may posibilidad na may makawala diyan, may isang kaso lang na pumasok (As you can see, vaccination cards are not being checked, no more contact tracing forms in public places, more public transportation available, so there's more possibility for cases to increase)," he added.

Citing that about 10 million of the target population are yet to receive even the first dose of Covid-19 jabs, Herbosa urged the public to be inoculated to protect themselves and prevent a possible surge of infections.

As of April 26, about 146,227,002 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the country.

A total of 72,488,635 individuals have received at least one dose while 67,640,431 are fully vaccinated. (PNA)