DILG warns LGUs: Don’t be complacent amid possible new COVID-19 spike
MANILA, Philippines — Local government units (LGUs) across the country have been warned against being too complacent about COVID-19 cases, as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) called for higher vigilance amid possible new infection spikes.
Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said in a statement on Friday that the Department of Health’s prediction that there could be more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) by the first week of October should be a stark reminder that the pandemic is still going on and its spread must be stopped.
“Kami po ay nananawagan sa ating LGUs na bantayang mabuti ang mga kaso ng COVID sa kanilang nasasakupan (We are calling on our LGUs to continue monitoring COVID-19 cases within their jurisdiction). We are still in a pandemic and we count on our local officials to lead this war, especially in the coming months where alarming numbers of COVID-19 cases are projected,” he said.
“Marami tayong kababayan ang naghahanap-buhay sa Metro Manila. Ito ang economic center ng bansa, kaya dapat malakas ang depensa nito at mapigilan natin ang pagtaas ng kaso na maaaring kumalat sa ibang lugar sa bansa,” he added.
(We have a lot of Filipinos working in Metro Manila. This remains the country’s economic center; that’s why the defenses for this area are strong, and we should stop the rise in cases of NCR, which can also spread to other parts of the country.)
DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press conference last Tuesday that their current projections state that infections may rise to around 10,600 cases by the first week of October if assumptions about low booster shot turnouts continue.
Vergeire called on the public to get their first booster shots, as immunity provided by vaccines does not last forever. She also stressed the importance of observing health protocols like wearing face masks and maintaining a physical distance.
Abalos echoed Vergeire’s call, urging people to vaccinate or get booster shots.
“I urge all of you to support the government’s vaccination efforts, such as PinasLakas. Vaccines have carried us through the murk of the pandemic. We are able to go back to our old ways because of them kaya sana ay makita ng ating mga kababayan ang malaking tulong na ito (that’s why I hope our fellow Filipinos see how big of a help vaccination is),” he added.
Still, the DILG chief noted that people cannot let their guards down, as the DOH projection is a grim reminder that the pandemic is still a considerable threat to the country’s day-to-day operations.
“We cannot let our guards down. The projected number of cases in NCR is a clear sign for all LGUs in the country to step up their campaign because COVID-19 can again trickle to your own backyards. We must work collectively para matuldukan na ang pandemya ito (to end this pandemic),” he said.
While there are fears that the new COVID-19 Omicron subvariants would pull the country to a months-long battle, studies also indicate that cases might have already peaked in Metro Manila. According to OCTA Research, this is because the growth of cases in Metro Manila and Iloilo has started to drop.
According to the DOH’s COVID-19 tracker, there are 37,962 patients with active COVID-19 infections in the country as of Thursday. Of this number, 11,564 or over 30 percent, can be found in Metro Manila.
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