MANILA — The Philippines has seen an improvement in containing the number of new COVID-19 cases in the past weeks, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.
“Further analysis showed na yung trends natin comparing to last month decreased by 25%,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual briefing.
(Further analysis showed that our trends comparing to last month decreased by 25%.)
A table shared by the DOH showed that while the Philippines averaged 2,517 cases per day three to four weeks ago, the number went down to 1,887 in the last two weeks.
The same improvement was seen for the National Capital Region, the epicenter of the pandemic in the country, which now has an average of 522 new cases per day, from 842 three to four weeks ago.
Vergeire pointed out that the NCR, home to roughly a 10th of the Philippine population and which accounts for a third of the country's gross domestic product, even averaged 2,000 to 2,500 a day back in August.
“Pero ngayon, nakikita natin talaga yung pagbaba ng mga kaso (But now we are seeing a decrease in the cases). We are just averaging about 500-plus cases a day in the National Capital Region,” she said.
The Philippines recorded its highest number of newly-announced cases of 6,864 on Aug. 10.
But Vergeire clarified that the government is not only looking at the number of cases when determining the quarantine level of an area.
“We also look at the health system capacity of that area,” she said, adding that the health facilities must be able to accommodate even non-COVID cases.
She said they also have set targets and milestones.
“And also yung average growth rate n'ya, dapat makikita natin downward. Ibig sabihin, negative sya; hindi s'ya nagpo-positive. And that’s the time we are able to shift to this lower community quarantine level,” she said.
(Also, the average growth rate should be downward or negative, and not positive. And that’s the time we are able to shift to this lower community quarantine level.)
“Our target for our milestones would be, hopefully by next year, end of first quarter, lahat ng local governments natin nasa MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) status na, nearing new normal na sinasabi natin, na pwede na tayo lahat to have that kind of shift,” Vergeire said.
(Our target for our milestones would be, hopefully by next year, end of first quarter, all local governments are in MGCQ status already, nearing new normal.)
Over the weekend, Vergeire said the DOH is hopeful that the entire country would shift to a more lenient quarantine level by first quarter of 2021.
The MGCQ is the lowest of the four-level quarantine levels being implemented in the country. It is followed by the GCQ, modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), and then, ECQ, which is the strictest.
As of Sunday, the Philippines has a total of 383,113 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which, 27,115, or around seven percent, are active.
Based on the latest government data, only 38.3 percent of the country's 21,942 beds in 1,272 health facilities dedicated for COVID-19 cases are occupied, as of Oct. 31.