Despite easing lockdown, PH yet to control COVID-19 transmission
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has yet to control the transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday, even as the government has started to ease movement restrictions in some areas in the country.
Malacañang earlier announced that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the proposal to slightly modify the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu City — three key areas where there are still a high concentration of COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, fewer restrictions will be applied for the rest of the country, which are under general or no quarantine.
Amid these measures, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire insisted that the health risks remained high as the country has yet to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which was why minimum health standards such as physical distancing, temperature checks, wearing of face masks and regular hand washing would still to be enforced in areas with relaxed lockdown rules.
“Hindi po natin sinasabi that we have already controlled (the transmission), kaya nga po tayo ay magpapatupad ng ating mga minimum health standards na sinasabi,” Vergeire said in a televised press briefing.
(We’re not saying that we have already controlled the transmission of the disease, that is why we’re enforcing the so-called minimum health standards.)
“Although an area might be identified or classified as low risk, they still need to implement the minimum health standards that we will be providing,” she added.
The DOH earlier said that the COVID-19 pandemic curve in the country has begun to flatten; however, the coronavirus cases continue to swell on a daily basis.
Nationwide, there are 11,350 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease, including 2,106 recoveries and 751 deaths as of Tuesday.
“Iyon pong posibilidad ng second wave, ito po ay isang bagay na gusto nating maiwasan at pinaghahandaan natin kaya nga po ganito po tayo mag-classify ng ating mga lugar at ganito po natin ipinatutupad ang shifting or transitioning from a GCQ to a low risk area to a moderate to low risk – hindi po natin binibigla iyan,” Vergeire said.
(The possibility of a second wave, is something we want to avoid and we are preparing for this that’s why we classify our areas and implement shifting or transitioning- we’re not rushing the lifting of the lockdown.)
In a taped speech aired Tuesday morning, Duterte said that easing the lockdown in some areas doesn’t mean that the COVID-19 threat in the country is gone.
“For those who would be allowed to go out and work and for those na hindi pa talaga puwede (those are not yet allowed), remember na itong ‘pag…the easing up of the restrictions hindi iyan sabihin na wala na ang COVID (this does not mean COVID is gone),” Duterte said.
“Dahan-dahan lang sa ngayon para walang ano… hindi tayo madapa. Dahan-dahan lang. Because we cannot afford… we cannot afford a second or third wave na mangyari,” he added.
(We’ll take one step at a time so we don’t fall. We do it slowly, because we cannot affor a second or third wave to happen.)
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