MANILA - After a record breaking 7,999 COVID-19 cases were tallied on Saturday, the Department of Health (DOH) again called on Filipinos to stay at home this coming Holy Week, and opt for online masses instead of flocking to religious centers.
"With the continued rise in the number of cases being observed in the country, along with the threat of increased transmission posed by the expected higher mobility over the upcoming Holy Week, the DOH strongly urges the public to stay at home and instead opt for online masses," the Health department said in a statement.
They also urged the public to suspend non-essential travel and adhere to minimum public health standards such as wearing masks and observing other preventive measures at all times, even at home, in order to help reduce transmission.
The Department of Tourism, meanwhile, pushed for the public to opt for "smart tourism", and find amusement at nearby destinations in a bid to slowly revive domestic travel.
Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said travel protocols were recently streamlined to help boost domestic tourism while keeping tourists safe.
The new rules, released in late February, included the removal of mandatory COVID-19 testing and quarantine for local travelers except if they exhibit virus symptoms, among others.
Experts have warned that cases could rise to 10,000 per day by the end of March.
“We’re likely to see 5,000 cases in NCR (National Capital Region) alone by end of the month, and at least mga 10,000 cases sa buong Pilipinas (in the entire Philippines) by end of the month,” said OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David.
"In terms of numbers, itong record-breaking number natin hindi pa ito ang full, in fact una pa lang ito sa record-breaking, sad to say."