(PNA photo by Gil Calinga)

MANILA – Coronavirus cases are expected to rise with increased mobility, resumption of face-to-face classes and easing of face mask mandate, an infectious disease expert said Monday.

In a televised public briefing, Dr. Rontgene Solante said the country's boosted population is low.

As of Sept. 14, more than 18.7 million individuals have received their first booster doses and almost 2.6 million have received their second booster shots.

Solante noted booster doses would provide added protection against the highly transmissible Omicron BA.5 subvariant -- the most dominant coronavirus variant worldwide.

On Friday last week, the Department of Health reported 163 additional cases of Omicron BA.5 subvariant and four new cases of Delta variant.

“What we need is protect the vulnerable population kasi sa nakikita natin sa mga hospital ngayon, ang nadadala 'yung mga vulnerable population (because it is seen in the hospitals that most admissions are from the vulnerable population),” he said.

Since the number of boosted individuals is low, Solante underscored the importance of wearing face masks among the senior citizens, the immunocompromised, and persons with comorbidities.

“Or kung mayroon tayong inuuwian sa bahay na mas puwede nating mahawaan kasi ngayon ang taas ng household transmission ng Covid, 'no. Makikita natin pamilya pamilya ang nagkakasakit (Or if we live with people who may get infected easily because household transmission of Covid is high. We see families are getting sick),” he said. (PNA)