Is PH winning war vs COVID-19? ‘Too early to tell,’ says Duque
MANILA, Philippines — Ten days into the Luzon-wide community quarantine, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said it is still early to tell if the Philippines is winning its war against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as new cases are recorded daily.
“Mahirap sabihin ngayon. Kasi masyado pang maaga. Premature pa,” Duque said Thursday in an interview over dzBB. (It is hard to say. It is still too early. Still premature).
According to the country’s health chief, the country is looking to copy China’s success in battling the respiratory disease, particularly in its handling of Wuhan City, the epicenter of the pandemic which is located in China’s Hubei Province.
Duque pointed out that COVID-19 cases in Wuhan dwindled in the first days of March, more than one month since Chinese authorities imposed a lockdown on the city.
“Saka lang unti-unting bumaba papunta ng March, mga first week of March nagbabaan na. Ngayon zero to one new case per day nalang at karamihan pa imported na, so sila na ngayon ang tumatanggap ng kaso from outside of China,” he said. (The cases started going down in March. In the first weeks of March. It is now zero to just one case per day. Mostly imported cases).
Wuhan was the first city to have gone on lockdown to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus. Several cities and countries soon followed.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon under a month-long lockdown on March 16, forcing about half of the country’s population to observe home quarantine. His directive comes just two days after a botched attempt to restrict the movement of over 16 million people that live and work in Metro Manila. Since then, 496 infections have been recorded.
As of Thursday morning, there are 636 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. Of that number, 38 patients have died while 26 recovered.
Globally, the virus, which was tagged by the World Health Organization as a pandemic, has infected over 400,000 and killed more than 18,500 in nearly 200 countries and territories.
The virus causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but experts earlier said that older adults with preexisting health conditions were more vulnerable to the coronavirus, particularly those aged over 60-years-old.
To prevent infection, authorities are urging people to practice regular hand washing, cover the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those who show respiratory symptoms.
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