MANILA - The Philippines has reached its peak of COVID-19 cases when it reported a record-high 6,000 daily new patients last week, one of the government's special advisers on the virus said Monday.
The second phase of national government's action plan on the virus focuses on prevention at the community level, said Ted Herbosa, who also serves as the executive vice president of the University of the Philippines.
"I think with the declining cases, we peaked at about 6,000 to 7,000 cases a day and for the past several days…it’s been averaging 4,000. I think we've reached the peak as predicted by the UP team," he told ANC.
"Because of that, I probably, personally, prefer a GCQ (general community quarantine with a localized or surgical lockdown."
There must also be coordination between local governments and private firms testing their employees for the virus so the former can prepare isolation facilities, Herbosa said.
"Local leaders here will be very important because the barangay captains can really tell who are behaving, not behaving and they can also help contact tracing," he said.
Herbosa said the public must follow minimum health measures such as wearing of face masks, face shields, handwashing, staying at home, and observing physical distancing.
The national government has also begun distributing some 30 million washable triple-layer cloth face masks for the poor, Herbosa said.
"We keep waiting for the vaccine. The vaccine won’t happen until next year...We just need people to believe in these measures. Masyado kasing simple, people don’t want to believe in it," he said.
"Changing behavior is the hardest. It’s very hard to change so you need to have extreme measures, especially for Filipinos."
The Philippines as of Sunday reported 161,253 cases of COVID-19, with 2,665 deaths and 112,586 recoveries.