MANILA (BLOOMBERG) – The Philippines plans to revise mobility restrictions next month as Covid-19 cases caused by milder strains increase, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said.

“We are studying very closely, and we’ll come to a decision very soon as to decoupling the restrictions from the alert levels,” he said in a statement.

Mid-August is a suitable time to “loosen up” as this will give the medical community time to make Covid-19 cases more manageable, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, adding that the Philippines is experiencing an uptick in cases due to the highly contagious Omicron BA.5 variant.

The South-east Asian nation recorded 14,640 new cases, or an average of 2,091 infections a day, from July 11 to 17.

New Covid-19 infections rose to 2,091 a day last week, 44 per cent higher than the previous week’s 1,467 average daily cases, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Monday.

According to the DOH, 35 of the 14,640 confirmed new Covid-19 cases last week were severe or critical, while the vast majority were mild, asymptomatic, or moderate. There were 10,271 reported cases the previous week.

Healthcare utilisation slightly increased but remained at a low-risk level, or below 50 per cent, according to the latest DOH data.

The occupancy rate of Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) beds went up from 17 per cent last week to 18.3 per cent, with 481 out of 2,630 ICU beds in use.

The utilisation rate for non-ICU beds was up from 22.7 per cent last week to 23.8 per cent, equivalent to 5,189 beds out of 21,809 beds in use.

The DOH reported that 589 patients, or 8.7 per cent of total Covid-19 admissions, were severely or critically ill.