MMDA warns against gatherings after new Covid cases came by clusters
MANILA, Philippines — Recent Covid-19 cases have been observed to come from clusters, indicating that these may be due to relatives seeing each other or friends hanging out again after months of lockdown.
This was revealed by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairperson Benhur Abalos on Thursday night, as he was pleading for people to remain disciplined and avoid complacency given the Covid-19 surge in the National Capital Region.
The MMDA head announced earlier that Metro Manila mayors adopted a uniform curfew hours, from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., starting from March 15 (Monday), in an effort to curb down cases.
“Alam ko meron tayong mga family gatherings, mga pinsan natin, mga pamangkin natin. Siguro kamukha nang before medyo iwasan din natin kasi napapansin namin ang mga kaso ngayon pami-pamilya, by clusters,” Abalos told reporters in an online briefing.
(I know that we have family gatherings with our cousins, or with our nieces and nephews. Maybe we could do what we did before, which is avoiding gatherings because we observed that recent infections involved families, by clusters.)
“Okay lang kung iisang household kayo, walang problema pero kung galing sa iba-ibang lugar, kaunting ingat lang po. Tandaan natin, kakaiba ho itong klaseng nangyayari sa atin ngayon, at hindi lang sa atin nangyari ito,” he added.
(This would not be a problem if you come from a single household, but if you come from different areas, it’s best to exercise caution. Let us remember that what is happening right now is different, and this has also occurred in other areas.)
Abalos advised people to refrain from dining with a lot of people as human beings are most vulnerable while they are eating, because passageways for the virus are wide open with no mask to protect people.
“Number one, tuwing kumakain kayo you are at your most vulnerable, bakit, wala kayong mask eh,” he explained.
(Number one, every time you are eating, you are at your most vulnerable [moment]. Why? It’s because you don’t wear masks.)
“Alam mo tayong mga tao we are social beings eh, mahilig tayo na may mga kaibigan, kaya habang wala kang maskara, baka sa opisina natin alam mo ‘yon, nagyayaya kang kumain sa mga kaibigan mo, nakakahawa po ‘yon,” he added.
(You know we people are social beings, we like to mingle with friends, but when you do not wear masks, maybe inside offices or when you ask your friends to dine with you, that may be a cause of transmission.)
Metro Manila is currently experiencing a surge of Covid-19 cases, as the Department of Health (DOH) Covid-19 tracker showed an uptick in new infections starting last March 1 with 1,269 new cases on that day, peaking to 1,856 and 1,815 new daily cases on March 4 and 8, respectively.
As of Thursday, Metro Manila accounts for 21,268 of the country’s 47,769 active Covid-19 cases.
This rise in infections was forewarned by analytics group OCTA Research, which said as early as March 1 that Metro Manila is already experiencing a new and quicker surge of infections.
OCTA Research believed that the surge may have been brought by an undetected transmission of more infectious Covid-19 variants. As of now, DOH has detected two of the three variants of concern in the Philippines — the B.1.1.7 which traces to the United Kingdom, and the B.1.135 which came from South Africa.
Abalos attested to the quick infection rates possibly brought by the new variants, recalling that there were even talks to place Metro Manila under the least restrictive lockdown, the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
“Kakaiba po itong kinakaharap po natin, kakaibang Covid po ito eh, ito po’y nakakahawa, talagang nakakagulat. Sa totoo lang parang nag-uusap lang kami no’ng last week di namin akalain, just two weeks ago iisipin nga natin magmo-modified GCQ na ang Metro Manila eh dahil ang baba na ng kaso eh,” he said.
(What we are facing is different, a different kind of Covid-19, it is very transmissible. We were shocked, because we were just talking last week about a shift to a modified GCQ for Metro Manila because the cases had gone down, but we were caught by surprise.)
“In just two weeks biglang tumaas ng ganito? Talagang kakaiba po ito [It increased by this much within two weeks? This is really different],” he added.
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