DOH notes slight decline in COVID-19 cases due to lockdown, monitoring continues


Posted at Apr 24 2021 02:50 PM | Updated as of Apr 24 2021 04:48 PM

Video Courtesy of PTV

MANILA - Further monitoring is needed even as the effects of the strict lockdown in Metro Manila and nearby provinces are starting to be felt with a slight decrease in average daily COVID-19 cases over the past week, according to the Department of Health. 

In a public press briefing Saturday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said daily average cases are now at 9,556 this week, lower than the 10,858 daily cases seen the week before — attributing it to the effects of the ECQ and localized lockdowns. 

However, Vergeire said this does not mean that everyone should be complacent. 

She said the transmission rate has declined and average daily cases were lower this week at 9,556 from 10,858 last week.

"Pero gusto pa nating bantayan pa rin po itong nakikita natin at ayaw pa nating maging complacent tayong lahat para magpatuloy na ito sa pagbaba,” Vergeire said. 

(But we still have to monitor this and we don’t want to be complacent so the cases go down further.) 

The National Capital Region (NCR) Plus bubble (Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan) was previously placed under the strictest form of lockdown, the enhanced community quarantine, amid a COVID-19 surge which has overwhelmed hospitals, before shifting to a slightly lighter modified ECQ. 

Even so, hospitals around the metro have said they still feel overwhelmed with the number of COVID-19 cases even as the government has expanded capacity. 

Asked on whether or not strict lockdowns should persist, Vergeire said: "Siyempre po sa health side gusto po natin na strict restrictions. Pero kailangan po natin na tingnan 'yung ibang sektor kasi alam po natin na nagi-impact din sa health ang ibang sektor na ito.) 

(When we talk of the health aspects, we want strict restrictions. But there are also other sectors to be considered.) 

The Philippines on Friday reported 8,719 more COVID-19 cases—the 5th straight day that fresh cases were less than 10,000, while adding 14,000 recoveries. 

Vergeire said the number of recoveries was expected as most of the country’s COVID-19 cases are mild or asymptomatic. 

The government last week also started to tally their time-bound recovery program titled "Oplan Recovery" daily, instead of every Sunday. 

Vergeire assured the public that they have placed layers in the verification process to ensure that the submitted data is accurate, such as verifying the data with local government units. 

“So ang ginagawa natin ating binabalikan ang datos ng individuals from the date of the onset or from the day they tested positive. At tinitingnan po natin pagkatapos ng 14 araw o 10 araw kung ano ang estado nila," Vergeire said.

"We also have another layer where we send it to our local government, to our regional office para ma-verify ito. At 'pag bumabalik sa’tin itinatalaga na po silang recovered. So nawawala na po rito ang mga aktibong kaso at 'yung mga namatay po dahil sa COVID-19 so that is how we make sure that this is accurate,” Vergeire said. 

(What we do is we look back at the data of individuals from the date of the onset or the day they tested positive. And we look at it again after 14 days, or 10 days, and check the patients’ situation. We also have another layer where we send it to our local government or regional office to verify the data. We declare these cases recovered once the data is sent back to us. This removes fatalities and active cases so that is how we make sure that this is accurate.) 

The pandemic task force is set to discuss whether or not NCR and neighboring provinces should shift to looser quarantine protocols, according to Vergeire.