MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday said that the spike in additional COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila is mostly due to local transmission of the virus because of the shift to a general community quarantine.
“Maaring ang pagtaas ng mga kaso sa Metro Manila ay dahil sa increased testing capacity and community transmission na ating nararanasan nang simulan natin ang pag-ease ng community restrictions,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing.
(The increase in cases in Metro Manila may be because of increased testing capacity and community transmission that we experienced since we eased community restrictions.)
“Lalong napaigting ang community transmission kung lax o hindi natin sinusunod ang minimum public health standards,” she added, referring to the need to wear face masks and observe physical distancing.
(Community transmission is intensified if we do not follow or we are lax in following the minimum public health standards.)
During a briefing with media earlier in the day, Vergeire acknowledged that there might also be lapses in the enforcement of the minimum health standards in communities.
“It’s very lax yung pag-i-implement ng minimum health standards,” she said.
(The implementation of minimum health standards if very lax.)
“Kahit kayo, 'pag lumalabas papunta sa work n'yo, o you go somewhere, makikita mo yung mga tao, nasa kalye. And some of them are not practicing physical distancing. Some of them are not using masks. Nasa baba lang nila,” she lamented.
(Even when you go out for work or you go somewhere, you can see people on the streets. And some of them are not practicing physical distancing. Some of them are not using masks. It’s just on their chins.)
She said that unless Filipinos properly enforce health standards, the communities would have difficulty in containing the spread of the virus causing COVID-19.
Vergeire said they are also looking at other factors although most cases still point to the local spread of the disease.
“Nung pinag-aaralan namin, nakikita na yung iba, galing sa repatriates, parang imported,” she said. “May iba naman, galing doon sa sinasabi natin na workers o closed institutions.”
(When we were studying it, we saw that some are from repatriates or imported cases. Others are from workers or closed institutions.)
“Pero, most of the cases na meron ngayon, wala kang makitang link sa kahit na ano. So, we call it community transmission pagka gano'n,” she explained.
(But most of the cases that we have now, we can’t see the links. So we call it community transmission.)
It was in early March when the Philippines recorded its first case of local transmission, involving a 62-year-old man who had no known history outside of the country or exposure to a known COVID-19 case.
As of Tuesday, the country had logged 47,873 total confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of those, 34,178 are active cases.