(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The OCTA Research believes the recorded slight increase in the Covid-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) was caused by the emergence of more transmissible Omicron subvariants and not due to the May 9 elections.

“Palagay namin epekto ito ng panibagong subvariant rather than yung sa election (We think that this is an effect of new subvariant rather than election),” OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said in a televised Laging Handa public briefing on Monday.

David cited there’s no recorded spike of cases in the past election campaign period, despite the crowding of people in various sorties that should have caused superspreader events.

“The election has been more than two weeks ago, so this slight uptick of cases that we are seeing might have come from more transmissible sub-variant,” he said.

David likewise said they are now monitoring the movements of the Omicron subvariants BA.2.12.1 and BA.4. -- both have already been detected in the country.

“We will see over the next few weeks if these subvariants will have a breakthrough here,” he added.

The Department of Health (DOH) has earlier declared the Omicron sub-variant BA.4 as a “variant of concern” since it is more contagious than the other subvariants.

With this, David sees that a further increase of the cases due to subvariants might reach 5,000 utmost and will not exceed 10,000 cases.

“Kung iisipin natin iyong wall of immunity natin ay malakas pa rin, more or less pero may mga nakakalusot na kaunting infections, may mga breakthrough na kaunti, iyon ang mga nakikita nating uptick pero so far, kaunti pa lang (If we think of it, our wall of immunity still strong, more or less, but the there is a few infection have emerged here, there’s a slight breakthrough but the uptick is still low),” he said, citing that only a few cases of Omicron sub-variants were recorded in the country.

“This [is] positive but of course, we still couldn’t tell because we will see that over the next few weeks if the BA.2.12.1 will have its breakthrough, especially the BA.4 that came from South Africa,” he added.

He reiterated that the country’s “wall of immunity” will stay strong if the people will get vaccinated and continue to observe public minimum health standards.

2nd booster o boost 'wall of immunity' 

David said the administration of fourth Covid-19 doses or second booster shot will greatly contribute to further strengthening the country’s “wall of immunity” against the pandemic.

He added that the Covid-19 second booster dose will also protect individuals from experiencing a “long Covid” also known as “post-Covid-19" conditions.

“Malaki ang maitutulong ng pagbibigay ng second booster shot sa mga kababayan natin kasi magpalakas ulit iyong ating wall of immunity. Iyong mga antibody levels, tataas ulit sa mga kababayan natin at maaaring ma-prevent natin itong pagdami ng bilang ng kaso (The provision of a second booster shot would be a huge help to intensify the wall of immunity. The antibody levels of our fellow countrymen will increase again and we may prevent the spike of cases),” he said.

David also reminded the public that vaccination should always be accompanied by continuous adherence to public health protocols such as wearing face masks, regular disinfection, and social distancing policies.

“Sumunod tayo sa mga sinasabi ng mga experts, makinig tayo sa mga alerts kung mayroon mang pagdami ng kaso (Let’s follow what experts say, let's listen to alerts if there’s an increase of cases),” he added.

David also advised the health facilities like hospitals and converted Covid-19 treatment facilities to be always ready, if Covid-19 active cases will spike again.

To date, the second booster shot is only available for immunocompromised individuals, healthcare workers, and senior citizens, with 30,912 doses being administered, as of last week. (PNA)