By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

After reporting a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases since the peak in August, Philippines health officials are seeing a slowing down of the previous improvement in the epidemic curve.

On Saturday, the Department of Health reported an additional 3597 COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 458,044.

In addition, 36 additional fatalities were reported today, putting the death toll at 8911.

Officials are reminding the public to remain cautious and vigilant during the Christmas holiday season.

There has been a continuous growth of cases in Metro Manila, signaling the start of a surge. Nine cities are now at moderate risk compared to last month when all cities were at low risk. The average daily attack rate in all NCR cities is also higher than the national average.

Increases have also been reported in Regions I, II, and CAR.

If this  trend continues and is not mitigated, it will lead to a sharp spike of cases that might overwhelm our health system capacity, similar to the peak we experienced last August in the NCR. The occurrence of another surge will no longer be a matter of “if” but of “when and by how much”.

What does a spike in cases might mean?—the extensive lockdowns and how it has affected our families, our healthcare workers, the small businesses and large enterprises alike, and how it almost, if not completely, paralyzed our economy, officials note. “We do not want that to happen again”.

“We would like to remind everyone that while we wait for the vaccine, let us not be complacent. Let us continue adhering to the minimum public health standards and let the gift of safety be our present to our loved ones this holiday season”.

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Aquilino Managbanag

By Aquilino Managbanag

Aquilino Managbanag EXPERIENCE: Four years at The Asian Pacific Post, a weekly Canadian newspaper founded in 1993 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The newspaper specialized in reporting Asian issues, and has a readership of 160,000. It has a sister publication in The South Asian Post. EDUCATION: University of Santo Tomas – Manila -- The private Roman Catholic research university is Asia’s oldest existing university. The university takes pride in keeping the Catholic faith and beliefs prominent while holding true to its centuries-old tradition of academic excellence.