The Philippines has yet to see a flattening of the COVID-19 pandemic curve with clustered cases still rising, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday, even as there are improvements in the country’s situation.
“Even with these indicators, we are seeing specific areas that have clustering, there’s an increase in cases. So at this point, we cannot really say that there is flattening of the curve,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in Filipino during a virtual briefing.
Vergeire said the Philippines is properly dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, citing improved critical care utilization rates, which includes bed occupancy in hospitals.
“If we try to look at these numbers, we can see it gradually slowing down, slowly decongesting the system and having more capacity to accommodate COVID-19 patients,” she said.
New cases fall below 3,000 for second day
The Philippines logged 2,833 new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases Wednesday, bringing the total to 294,591 infections since the pandemic started, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.
This was the second straight day that newly-confirmed cases were below 3,000. Tuesday’s tally was 1,635.
The DOH also reported 44 new fatalities, bringing the death toll from COVID-19 to 5,091.
On the other hand, 765 new recoveries were reported, bringing the number of patients who have recovered from the disease to 231,373.
That left 58,127 active cases 86.5 percent of which are mild, 9.2 percent of which are asymptomatic, 1.3 percent of which are severe, and 3 percent of which are critical.
Anti-lockdown doctors slammed
AN infectious disease expert on Wednesday warned against calls for the lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns nationwide saying this is “very dangerous.”
Last week, the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC-PH) launched the #FlattenTheFear campaign, which urges government to end lockdowns and promote intake of proper nutrition to boost one’s immune system.
But in an interview on ANC, Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of adult infectious disease at the San Lazaro Hospital, said lifting of virus restrictions should only be implemented once there is a significant drop in COVID-19 cases.
“It’s really dangerous to look at it,” Solante said, noting that promoting vitamins as prophylaxis could give people a false sense of safety.
“It’s very dangerous. Premature lifting of the lockdown and taking the prophylaxis, you are facing two very dangerous interventions here that have not been proven at this point when our cases are still ongoing,” Solante added.
Public confidence, readiness key
Public confidence and readiness should determine whether or not the government should ease the lockdown of Metro Manila amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of health workers and a business group said on Wednesday.
The public transport system should be prepared enough to prevent outbreaks of the disease, while retail establishments should have a system to notify customers in case they have contact with a coronavirus patient, said Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, of the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19, in an interview on ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
“The question that should be asked is: How is the state of preparation across all sectors? All of them should indicate that we can all do our own roles,” Ong-Lim said.
For his part, Management Association of the Philippines president Francis Lim said the public’s confidence in health protocols should hold “equal importance” with easing restrictions to rescue the economy.
New testing guidelines out soon
The government will soon release revised omnibus guidelines on COVID-19 testing, detection, isolation, quarantine management, a Department of Health (DOH) official said on Wednesday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire’s statement was made a day after the Lancet medical journal ranked the country’s efforts in suppressing COVID-19 as 66th out of 91 countries.
“The Inter-Agency Task Forcehas approved a pilot run for the antigen test. When the results are out, we can come out with the omnibus guidelines. The whole document will be updated,” Vergeiere said.
She also assured the public that the DOH would continue working to improve the country’s COVID-19 response.