Philippines yet to flatten 'COVID-19 curve': gov't adviser

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 06 2020 08:55 AM | Updated as of Apr 06 2020 09:22 AM

Bikers ride on an empty tunnel following the suspension of mass transportation to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Manila, March 20, 2020. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

MANILA - The Philippines has yet to see a decrease in its daily new cases of COVID-19 as its largest island Luzon, home to 50 million, entered the last week of its monthlong lockdown, a government adviser said Monday. 

The lockdown was initially set until April 12. The government expects to start mass testing for the respiratory disease 2 days after. 

"Baka mangailangan pa ng 15 to 20 days kasi hindi pa natin nari-reach iyong flattening of the curve na tinatawag," said Dr. Tony Leachon, adviser of an inter-agency task force on COVID-19. 

(Perhaps we need 15 to 20 more days of lockdown because we have yet to reach the so-called flattening of the curve.) 

"After the April 15-30 [possible extension]... doon mo pa lang malalaman ang magnitude of the problem... kasi magbubukas ka ng testing," added the former consultant of the health department and director of PhilHealth. 

(After the April 15-30 possible extension, it is only then that you'll know the magnitude of the problem because you'll open testing centers.) 

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The mass testing will prioritize some 30,000 patients with symptoms of the disease and 100,000 asymptomatic people who were exposed to carriers or had traveled abroad, said COVID-19 
Response Chief Implementor Carlito Galvez, Jr. 

President Rodrigo Duterte might decide on the lockdown extension between Sunday and Tuesday, he said. 

The Philippines on Sunday confirmed 152 new cases of the disease, which brought the nationwide total to 3,246. The tally included 152 deaths and 64 recoveries. 

Despite the Luzon lockdown, COVID-19 cases could continue spiking following the recent delivery of test kits and the accreditation of additional screening laboratories, the health department earlier said.