DOH backpedals, now says PH is still in first wave of COVID-19 pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — After it was soundly rebuffed by Malacanang, the Department of Health is now toeing the Palace line in saying that the Philippines remains in the throes of the first wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
An aide of Health Secretary Francisco Duque on Thursday recanted the statement of her principal that the country is “actually” now experiencing the second wave of the pandemic, with an apology “for the confusion that this has caused.”
“The DOH confirms that, yes, we are in the first wave driven by local community transmission. We are still in this wave,” said Assistant to the Health Secretary Beverly Ho during the DOH’s online press conference.
“We hope that this does not in any way distract us from what we really need to do to change the course of this pandemic,” Ho added.
The DOH official said the first wave peaked last March 31, after registering 538 new confirmed cases in one day, but the numbers went down from there.
This is contrary to the findings of a local epidemiology expert, Dr. John Wong, who was consulted by the DOH during a televised press briefing just a day before, who said that first wave of the pandemic occurred in late January when the Philippines recorded its first three confirmed cases, while the second wave peaked on March 31.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea both issued their respective statements discounting the pronouncements of Duque on the country being on the second wave of the pandemic.
The issue on which phase of the pandemic the Philippines is in was discussed during the congressional hearings on the government’s response against COVID-19, a week after the government eased its quarantine protocols all over the country in a bid to open up the economy.
Malacañang earlier warned that another lockdown will be imposed if the COVID-19 cases surged anew after the easing up of quarantine protocols.
To date, there are 13,434 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, 9,588 of which are considered active.
A total of 3,000 individuals were able to recover from the deadly respiratory disease while 846 have succumbed to it.
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