DOH claims COVID-19 situation in PH improving as NCR prepares for GCQ

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2020 09:49 PM | Updated as of May 29 2020 11:11 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said that the country’s situation in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic is improving.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said this a day after the DOH reported a record-breaking 539 new COVID-19 cases. 

“Hindi po nangangahulugan na lumala ang sitwasyon ng COVID sa bansa,” Vergeire said during a televised briefing.

(This does not mean that the COVID-19 situation in the country has worsened.)

Vergeire said majority of the new cases reported on Thursday were actually patients who tested positive several days or weeks ago.

“Batid namin ang pagiging teknikal ng mga numerong ating ipinalalabas ang isa sa dahilan ng hindi pagkakaunawaan na paminsan pa’y maaaring magdulot ng takot o pangamba na baka muli na naman tayong bumalik sa ECQ,” she said.

(We understand that the technical nature of the figures we are releasing can result in confusion and may even cause fear that the we might return to ECQ.)

After more than 2 months of being under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and then a modified ECQ, Metro Manila is supposed to be placed under a general community quarantine on June 1. This will effectively ease the restriction on some industries, allowing more people to work and earn a living. 

However, a week before the GCQ is set to take effect, a spike in COVID-19 cases was reported by the DOH. This prompted DOH to make a clarification that a relatively small portion (109) of the 539 new cases reported on Thursday recently tested for COVID-19. 

“Sa panahong ito gusto po nating i-emphasize na sa desisyon para mag-GCQ marami pong factors ang tinignan.
Hindi lamang po ang bilang ng mga kaso,” she further explained.

(At this point we want to emphasize that there are many factors considered in the shift to GCQ. It’s not just the number of cases.)

Vergeire said among the factors observed are the number of deaths, which she said have been decreasing. 

She also pointed out that the case doubling time for COVID-19 is now at 7 days, an improvement from a month ago. Case doubling time refers to the time needed to double the number of people infected with the disease.

Meanwhile, critical care utilization rate of the country is only at 36%. This means that the country’s intensive care units are mostly available and are not overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.

“Maganda ang mga indikasyon ng mga numero, at sinasabi lamang nito na basta lahat tayo tulong-tulong, magbubunga ang ating mga paghihirap, pananatili sa bahay, at pagtitiyaga,” Vergeire said.

(These numbers indicate something good and they show that as long as we work together, our sacrifices, perseverance and decision to stay at home will bear fruit.)