Finance chief downplays rise in COVID-19 cases

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 24 2023 07:21 PM

MANILA - Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Monday downplayed concerns over the recent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, saying this was "nothing to be scared of."

At the Development Budget Coordination Committee press briefing, Diokno said he believes there won't be new lockdowns and that COVID-19's impact on the economy will not be significant because of the availability of vaccines and the readiness of medical facilities.

"I don't think that's kind of scary. I don't even think why you are wearing your mask here. Really, there's nothing to be scared of," Diokno told reporters.

Several areas in the country have reported an increase in COVID cases, but the DOH said no area has been escalated from Alert Level 1 to 2 this year.

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The DOH said 26 provinces will remain under Alert Level 2, the second least restrictive level. 

The Philippines recorded 3,148 COVID-19 cases in the past week. From April 17 to 23, an average of 450 daily infections were logged in the country, which is 32 percent higher compared to the previous week, the DOH said.

Based on the DOH's COVID-19 Tracker, the Philippines has 4,336 active COVID-19 cases as of April 24.

Meanwhile, NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the government is already preparing for the possible effects of El Nino, especially on agriculture. 

Balisacan said the president has formed an Interagency Committee to monitor prices and to anticipate the effects of phenomena like El Nino.