WHO: Rise in COVID-19 cases in PH inevitable
MANILA, Philippines — The increase in COVID-19 cases in the country is “inevitable” given the gatherings of people during the holiday season and the recent Feast of the Black Nazarene, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.
WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said physical distancing was not observed through the Christmas and New Year holidays, which may give rise to the surge of new coronavirus infections.
“There has been a lot of movement, a lot of get together and we’ve seen most recently on Saturday with the Traslacion in Manila—a massive get together of people…this kind of close contact (activity) will give rise for the transmission of the virus, for the infection of more people,” Abeyasinghe said in a televised Laging Handa Public Briefing.
“So it is inevitable that the Philippines is going to see an increase of cases,” he added.
The WHO official said the country now needs to break the chain of infection through early detection, isolation, and contact tracing efforts.
On Monday, the Philippines logged 2,052 additional coronavirus infections – the first time the country reached 2,000 new cases since Dec. 18. This pushed the country’s total infections to 489,736.
The OCTA Research Team said the country is expected to experience an increase in cases this week due to the holidays.
OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said Metro Manila’s reproduction rate is currently at 1.13 which means more than one person can be infected by COVID-19.
The capital region last recorded a reproduction rate of higher than 1 in August, when it reverted to a modified lockdown for two weeks.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said fresh COVID-19 numbers indicate a holiday surge but the situation remains “manageable”, as the country’s healthcare capacity remains intact.
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