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Duque: Weekly release of COVID-19 data to boost public confidence

/ 10:16 AM March 02, 2022
Duque: PH past Omicron surge but lifting face mask mandate still 'premature'

FILE PHOTO: Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — The weekly release of COVID-19 bulletins is also meant to boost the confidence of the public under the new normal, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Wednesday.

Duque said this after the Department of Health (DOH) announced Tuesday that it will start reporting COVID-19 information weekly instead of daily starting March 7.

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“The reason being first, we already see very low caseload of COVID-19, and number two we have seen that even if we had a surge sometime mid-January reaching about 34,000 cases, very small percentage of these accounted for severe and critical and ICU (intensive care unit) cases,” Duque said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart.

“It’s also to help boost confidence among our people because every day if you always see breaking news, breaking news every 4:00, the inertia gets more entrenched, and so even if gusto nating magluwag (we want to ease restrictions) to a reasonable degree without removing the compliance to the minimum public health standards, ‘yung inertia, malakas (the inertia is strong),” he added.

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Duque noted that when some areas in the country were placed under Alert Level 2, the public was still afraid and still treated it as Alert Level 3.

‘Other important programs’

He also said that there are other important programs that should be subjected by the DOH to information drives.

“I think it is high time that we also need to make announcements outside of the COVID-19 sphere because there are also equally important programs of the department that also warrant the information that the public deserves, especially in our pursuit of universal healthcare,” said Duque.

“‘Yun lang ‘yun (That’s just it), and to also boost confidence, that we are now reporting on a weekly basis and that we will limit these to the severe and critical ICU utilization rate and the vaccination rate,” he pointed out.

According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the “revised” case bulletins to be issued weekly will focus on severe and critical cases and ICU utilization.

She said the DOH will retain the COVID-19 tracker on its website for now, but the tracker will eventually be updated on a weekly basis.

The DOH announced the weekly release of COVID-19 data after the government placed Metro Manila and 38 other areas under the most lenient Alert Level 1, or the so-called “new normal,” starting March 1 to March 15.

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RELATED STORIES:

COVID-19 reporting to be done weekly — Andanar

DOH: Consider alert level 1 as ‘new normal’

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