COVID situation still ‘very fragile’ due to surge in regions – DOH | Inquirer News
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COVID situation still ‘very fragile’ due to surge in regions – DOH

Rosario Vergeire

DOH Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The COVID-19 pandemic in the country is still in a “very fragile” situation, amid rising cases in the regions which could change the improving figures in Metro Manila, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Saturday.

Vergeire said the extension of heightened restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area of Metro Manila and the adjacent provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal has been effective, because the number of COVID-19 cases in these areas had gone down from its peak in March and April.

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She pointed out the average daily recorded cases in Metro Manila were now at 1,000, down from 5,000 during that previous period, while hospitals in the capital region have been decongested.

Yet she continued to urge caution because of the increase in COVID-19 cases in the Visayas and Mindanao, where she said hospitals are also becoming full.

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“NCR might be nearing or coming closer to what we call the safe zone, but if the other regions are having this kind of increase in the number of cases, we have to treat this matter with caution because our situation is very fragile and we might return to the previous situation if we are all not careful,” Vergeire said at the Laging Handa briefing.

‘Superspreading event’

If some lawmakers at the House of Representatives are to be believed, there is a new surge of coronavirus cases at least in Quezon City.

Three House members are calling for an investigation into what they called a “superspreading event” that involved more than 6,000 residents in Barangay Matandang Balara.

The lawmakers said residents there were “recklessly” gathered by Quezon City Councilor Franz Pumaren to receive food packs.

Representatives Michael Defensor of party list group Anakalusugan, Rodante Marcoleta of party list group SAGIP and Anthony Peter Crisologo of Quezon City’s 1st District have filed House Resolution No. 1884, urging the chamber to direct the appropriate committee to inquire into this incident, which they said caused the lockdown of whole neighborhoods.

“It was a mess. The event organizers did not even bother to get the names, addresses and contact details of the attendees, so the authorities are now at a loss as to how to carry out any contact tracing,” Defensor said.

He also claimed the event led to a surge of 197 COVID-19 cases in the barangay in less than a week. Furthermore, officials there were forced to quarantine thousands of residents and shut down six adjacent streets.

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“We support the distribution of food supplies to residents, but these should preferably be given out to families door-to-door. Officials should avoid asking people to congregate all together in one place,” Defensor said.

The three lawmakers are calling for a House inquiry even as the Department of the Interior and Local Government launched its own investigation of the incident.

Virus case update

The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday said it logged 8,027 new COVID-19 infections, the highest since May 28 when there were 8,748 infections. This brought the total number of cases to 1,308,352.

In its daily case bulletin, the DOH said there were a total of 60,341 active cases or currently sick individuals. Of this number, 90.7 percent are mild cases, 5 percent are asymptomatic, 1.24 are moderate, 1.7 percent are severe and 1.3 percent are critical.

Meanwhile, 8,940 have recovered from the disease, which pushed the total number of recoveries to 1,225,359.

However, 145 died of the respiratory illness, which pushed the death toll to 22,652.

The department said it removed 24 duplicate cases from the case count, while 59 cases previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths following final validation.

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