PH to see actual rise or fall of COVID-19 cases in coming days as backlog addressed

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2020 01:44 PM

MANILA — For the past two days, the Philippines has seen a significant spike in COVID-19 cases.

March 21 recorded 77 new cases, followed by 73, then 82, and then 90 new cases on March 24. By Tuesday, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has risen to 552.

The Department of Health considers the recent trend an “artificial rise” in cases.

New COVID-19 cases announced by the Department of Health. Graph by ABS-CBN Data Analytics

“The test results that are being announced may not be timely. These are old cases, and we’re just catching up (with testing). That’s why we’re saying it might be an artificial rise,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Wednesday.

Vergeire explained that there are now additional test kits and laboratories. The government earlier announced the arrival of 100,000 test kits from China and the accreditation of four more subnational laboratories that will process COVID-19 tests.

“We have more capacity and we have reduced the backlog,” she said.

“In the coming days, when we’re done with the backlogs, we’ll be able to see the real increase or decrease of numbers of cases in the country,” Vergeire explained.


Asked about the DOH and World Health Organization estimate that the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines will peak in three months, Vergeire said that will depend on how effective the current interventions and measures are.

“This is based on scientific assumptions, that we will reach the peak in 2 to 3 months if we do not implement stringent measures,” she said, speaking in Filipino.

Vergeire said they are working on new estimates now that the government has employed the enhanced community quarantine for Luzon.

She said the new estimates will show when the peak the COVID-19 cases in the Philippines will happen or for how long the outbreak will last.