US CDC classifies Philippines as ‘high risk’ for COVID infection

·Contributor
·2 min read
A health worker tends to a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient in the chapel of Quezon City General Hospital turned into a COVID-19 ward amid rising infections, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, August 20, 2021. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that travelers to Level 3 countries must take extra precaution. (Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)
A health worker tends to a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient in the chapel of Quezon City General Hospital turned into a COVID-19 ward amid rising infections, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, August 20, 2021. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that travelers to Level 3 countries must take extra precaution. (Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed the Philippines, along with two other countries, in the high travel risk category amid the current surge of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Nepal and Russia also made it to the “Level 3” category, in a list released on the CDC’s website on Tuesday (August 16).

According to the notice, travelers are discouraged from visiting these countries, unless their COVID vaccines are up to date.

“Even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, you may still be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19,” the CDC warned, and so anybody with a weak immune system or at high risk for severe diseases must “consider delaying travel to the Philippines.”

According to the CDC, countries with more than 100 cases of COVID infections per 100,000 population in the past month will be listed under the Level 3 category.

The Department of Health (DOH) on August 12 reported that the country is still at low risk for COVID-19 despite a slight uptick in hospitalizations nationwide, especially in intensive care units.

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that while this is the case, there’s still no cause for grave concern as the Philippines uses different metrics in classifying COVID infection risks.

“In terms of these classifications by the US CDC, it talks about the number of cases and the number of those testing positive but we need to further go deep and analyze these,” she said.

Ilan ba diyan sa sinasabi nila na naging high risk tayo ay severe at critical? Ilan ba dyan ang naospital?” Vergeire said.

(How many of those [the CDC] classified as high risks are severe and critical? How many have been hospitalized?)

For the past two weeks, there was a continued increase in COVID cases in the country, with the total reported active infections from August 8 to 14 at 28,008, or 3% higher than last week’s.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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