While the number of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila continues to rise, there are regions of the country that are still seemingly untouched by the pandemic.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), 26 out 81 provinces in the Philippines have no single confirmed case of COVID-19. Among the regions, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Caraga (Region XIII) have the most number of COVID-free provinces with 4 each.
Regions with COVID-free provinces:
CAR: Apayao, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province
Caraga: Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur
Bicol: Camarines Norte, Masbate, and Sorsogon
Eastern Visayas: Biliran, Eastern Samar, and Southern Leyte
BARMM: Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi
Zamboanga Peninsula: Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay
Cagayan Valley: Batanes and Quirino
Davao Region: Davao Occidental
Western Visayas: Guimaras
Central Visayas: Siquijor
Central Luzon: Aurora
Moreover, the DOH confirmed that around 30 provinces have zero COVID-19 cases or have not seen an increase in cases in a long time.
On Tuesday, April 21, the last of the 26 infected cases in Cagayan Valley was discharged after being given a clean bill of health. The region has one fatality.
Meanwhile, the National Research Council of the Philippines said that the location and population of these provinces and cities could be the reason for the zero cases.
“Most of the areas mentioned are among the sparsely populated component regions, cities, towns based on the PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) 2015 Census,” said Dr. Florence Navidad, a faculty member at the University of Santo Tomas’ Department of Medical Technology. She added that many of these places have an incidence of poverty which results in less contact with individuals and less foreign travels.
The lifestyle practices of the people in the said regions also play a big role since eating fresh fruits and vegetables and walking helps strengthen the immune system.