East Asia in review and the data for 09.18.2022

The Health Agency announces 2367 new cases with 13.2% positivity rate and 35 added deaths. NCR owned 1080 (46%) of the day’s cases.

All 17 LGUs in Mega Manila reported double or triple digits today. This was led by Quezon City with 221, Manila 135 and Taguig 122 cases. Double digits were reported by: Pasig 93, Makati 77, Caloocan 69, Parañaque 65, Mandaluyong 58, Las Piñas 56, Valenzuela 37, Pasay City and Muntinlupa with 30 each, Marikina 29, Malabon 16, San Juan 15, Navotas and Pateros with 12 each.

Provinces outside of NCR that had triple digits were: Cavite 146 and Rizal 114. Those with more than 50 but less than 100 cases were: Laguna 60, Bangs 50, Bulacan 78, and Davao del Sur 67 (Davao City owned 19).

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

The world in general is seeing less daily cases of COVID-19 (either unreported or under reported). Of those that remain reported, Asia accounts for 50-60% of the daily global cases with BA.5 and BA.4 triggering surges after surges as this part of the world remains the most conservative in the approach to mask mandates and reopening borders and economy. The global deaths from COVID-19, however, are at an all-time low since the pandemic began.

Which brings us to the data in East Asia this week, where most countries are seeing their numbers tumbling down. However, Taiwan and Hong Kong is on a re-uptick of cases as well as the Philippines and Vietnam, the latter two that are seeing a mild bump up in reproduction numbers and positivity rates.

Japan, South Korea and Taiwan continued to lead the region with 5-digit numbers, but in terms of per capita (cases per million population), Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea lead with 4-digits per million population.

Reproduction rates in the region are slightly up this week in most of the countries in East Asia. The Philippines for example has a Rt of 0.95 (+/- 0.05), up from 0.85 the week previous. The Rt needs to remain low and continue to decline for 4 consecutive weeks for the cases to go down. Unfortunately, it has not stabilized consistently as the National Capital Region drives the uptick in cases in the country. Mega Manila alone has a reproduction number up at 1.23 (+/- 0.05) compared to other provinces in the archipelago, that are seeing a decline in cases. Testing is also at an all time low in the country as only those tested with PCR are counted.

Japan’s borders have now formally opened, but tourists should still be coursed through a Japan travel agency for now. In South Korea, while the border is open, all tourists are mandated to take a RT-PCR test 24 hours upon arrival. In Taiwan, a cap on the total number of arrivals remains in place and inbound passengers are still required to follow current CECC regulations of three days of home quarantine and four days of self-initiated pandemic prevention. In Hong Kong, all inbound arrivals are required to undergo 3 days quarantine in a quarantine designated place (home, hotel or other accommodation) and self-monitoring in the 4th and subsequent nights. A negative PCR is required on the day of arrival or within 3 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong. All visitors need to take a rapid antigen test on the second day upon arrival and if the result of the RAT is negative, must undergo RT-PCR for confirmatory (a reason I cannot understand, unless the patient was positive from the get go, then just have an RT-PCR without having to do a RAT anymore). Other countries in East Asia have eased their borders and require only proof of vaccination for entry to the country.

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