Expert warns of another COVID surge as restrictions loosened

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 12 2021 10:36 AM | Updated as of Nov 12 2021 10:57 AM

People line up to enter the SM By the Bay at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City on Nov. 6, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
People line up to enter the SM By the Bay at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City on Nov. 6, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—The Philippines may experience a fresh surge of coronavirus infections if Filipinos will become complacent in adhering to health protocols, a former health secretary warned Friday.

As the country eases movement on restrictions to further open the economy, Dr. Esperanza Cabral said the public must not let their guard down.

"Posibilidad po na magkaroon uli tayo ng surge ng COVID. Sana ay hindi mangyari. Ngayon kasi, excited lahat ng tao na pumunta sa mga lugar na ganiyan [shopping malls]," she told TeleRadyo.

(It's possible we could have another surge of COVID. Hopefully this will not happen. Now, everyone's excited to visit [shopping malls].)

Esperanza, a former Health secretary, said Filipinos must wait for the excitement to subside before visiting such places. 

She also urged parents to consider what could happen if they bring children in crowded places.

The sprawling capital region, home to more than 13 million people, shifted to Alert Level 2 on Nov. 5 amid a decline in COVID-19 cases.

If the downtrend in coronavirus infections continues, Metro Manila may further ease to the lowest COVID-19 alert level, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III had said.

"Kung ang datos ay patuloy namang bumababa… posible na kapag below 1,000 tayo or 500 [cases] per day, baka puwede nating ibaba pa ng Alert Level 1," he had said in a televised public briefing. 

(If the data continue to go down, it is possible that if we fall below 1,000 or 500 cases per day, we could go down to Alert Level 1.)

On Thursday, the Philippines reported 1,974 new COVID-19 cases, the fourth time in the last 8 days that daily infections fell below 2,000.

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