'Too early' to tell if Philippines flattened COVID-19 curve: health dept

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 22 2020 10:42 AM

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MANILA - It is "too early" to tell if the Philippines has flattened the curve of new COVID-19 infections, the Department of Health said Wednesday, the eve of President Rodrigo Duterte's decision on whether or not to modify the 6-week lockdown of Luzon to contain the pandemic. 

"It is still too early to say but we are studying the numbers," said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. 

Cases of the respiratory disease now take 5 days to double from the previous 3 days before the lockdown, she told ANC. 

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier extended the home quarantine of 50 million Luzon residents up to April 30. He will decide Thursday on a possible modified lockdown, said his former longtime aide, Sen. Christopher Bong Go. 

Members of the Philippine National Police patrol the Blumentritt Market in Manila on April 21, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Whether or not the lockdown is extended, the Philippines "will have a new normal where we will always practice social distancing, the always washing of hands and other non-pharmaceutical interventions," said Vergeire. 

"We all know that the virus will not be removed or the virus will still be here by May 1," she said. 

The Philippines as of Tuesday confirmed 6,599 cases of COVID-19, including 654 patients who recovered and 437 fatalities.