Palace: Flattening of COVID-19 curve stopped when economy reopened
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday said the flattening of the COVID-19 pandemic curve started immediately after the imposition of strict lockdown measures but “did not continue” as more infections were recorded with the reopening of the economy and the government’s increased testing capacity.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said this after Health Secretary Francisco Duque once again drew flak for claiming that the Philippines has flattened the pandemic curve, only to retract it just hours later.
“Immediately after ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) and MECQ (modified ECQ), we noticed that we have somehow experienced a decline in the number of cases. In other words, at some point we started, we were starting to flatten the curve— at some point,” Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source.
“But unfortunately because of the reopening of the economy, and also because of intensified testing, it did not continue. The flattening did not continue,” he added.
However, he was quick to explain that it was “not necessarily negative altogether” as the government was able to locate more coronavirus carriers and immediately isolate and treat them as well as trace those individuals they have had contact with to prevent the spread of the respiratory illness.
“So we did not actually flatten the curve, we slowed it down tremendously as a result of ECQ and MECQ but with intensified testing and I guess with the reopening of the economy the cases increased anew,” the Palace official said.
In mid-March, the government has placed the entire Luzon—home to about half of the country’s total population and where the economic center Metro Manila is located—under ECQ to curtail the spread of the disease.
The strict lockdown measures have been eased since then to gradually reopen the economy.
Currently, Cebu City is the only area in the country under MECQ while some areas including Metro Manila are under the more lenient general community quarantine (GCQ). The majority of the country is now under the most lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
To date, there are 58,850 COVID-19 cases nationwide, of whom nearly half, or 29,015, are in Metro Manila. Meanwhile, 20,976 patients have so far recovered and 1,614 have died.
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