MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday lauded the public for following health protocols imposed by government that led to the flattening of the country's COVID-19 curve.
"The coronavirus curve flattened. Meaning to say, there are now less people... contaminated (with the) disease called COVID-19," Duterte said in a televised briefing.
"No significant contamination has been noted by government. This means that the government efforts that were guided by the best interest of public health and the crucial data provided by medical science paid off," he said.
According to Duterte, the fact that there are less people going around because of the community quarantine imposed by government caused less people to get sick with COVID-19.
"Ito kasi, mga kababayan ko, ito 'yung mga ginawa nating preventive measures, kagaya ng COVID quarantine. Nakatulong talaga 'yun. Malaking tulong 'yun because kakaunti lang ang taong naglalakad na magko-contaminate ng iba. At 'yung iba naman, umiwas. And so, there were less COVID people, and less people going around," he said.
(This is because of the preventive measures, like COVID quarantine. That really helped. It helped a lot because there are only a few people going around and contaminating others. Others, they avoided [going out]. And so, there were less COVID people, and less people going around.)
"One important factor that contributed to this development is the awareness of the public. And we truly appreciate the majority of those who were following the minimum health protocols set by the IATF," he added.
"Ganito 'yun. Sumunod kasi kayo sa pagbawal, sa ipinagbabawal ng gobyerno. (You followed the restrictions imposed by the government.) We had obedience, and people followed. That meant a lot and contributed to what is happening now, that there's a flattening of the cases."
Duterte also hailed local government executives who strictly implemented health protocols in their respective areas.
"Local government executives also played a vital role in implementing anti-virus measures in the localities. Mayroon ibang talagang (There were some) to the hilt, followed protocol to a T. Well, it redounded to the benefit of the people in the localities. And I salute you for doing your duty very well," he said.
Despite the "flattening of the curve," Duterte reminded the public to stay vigilant as the risk of getting infected is still present.
"Remember that the lessening of the contamination, wala na masyadong tao na nagkaroon ng COVID, is not because COVID-19, the germ, is gone. It is there, floating around us. Kaya lang, ang mga tao, sumunod na. Hindi humawak. Alcohol kaagad," he said.
(Remember that the lessening of the contamination, there are less people getting sick with COVID, is not because COVID-19, the germ, is gone. It is there, floating around us. But people followed. They avoid touching surfaces. They used alcohol.)
"The mask was one important factor. 'Yung mask talaga, nakatulong nang mabuti, and it is to your advantage that you followed government," he added.
(The mask was one important factor. Wearing of masks really helped a lot, and it is to your advantage that you followed government.)
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines reached 238,727 on Monday as the Department of Health reported 1,383 additional coronavirus infections.
According to ABS-CBN Data Analytics, this is the lowest number of additional cases since July 15. The DOH said though that Monday's new cases are based only on 88 out of 115 accredited testing laboratories, which means 27 laboratories failed to submit their results on time.
The Philippines has been logging record-high numbers in terms of new COVID-19 cases since late July, following the easing of quarantine measures and the gradual opening up of the economy.
But a lower number of cases have been observed starting Sept. 2. Except for Sept. 4, which logged 3,704 new coronavirus infections, the daily report of additional cases in the last 5 days remained below 3,000.
On Sunday, Dr. Guido David of the UP OCTA Research Team told ABS-CBN News that Metro Manila and Calabarzon are starting to flatten the COVID-19 pandemic curve, as the virus reproduction rate in the two regions is estimated at 0.95, below the threshold of "1"
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told Duterte in the same public address on Monday night that the number of cases in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, have declined by 30 percent from 3-4 weeks ago, to 1-2 weeks ago.
"Maganda po ang nangyari dahil you allowed MECQ to be imposed beginning Aug. (4) to Aug. 18. So, nakatulong po ito, Mr. President, sa pagbawas ng contact rate, transmission rate," Duque said.
The Philippines logged its first confirmed COVID-19 case on Jan. 30 in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.
The country started imposing community quarantine measures in mid-March.