PH faces another COVID-19 epicenter, task force adviser warns

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 16 2020 09:57 AM

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MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque should regroup and reflect on the agency's programs, and invite more health experts from the private sector as the Philippines faces another COVID-19 epicenter, a medical adviser to government's task force on the pandemic said Monday.

Duque must "reflect" and "work at the pleasure of the people," Dr. Tony Leachon told ANC as he admitted that the health secretary's job was "herculean."

"I think he needs to step up. He needs also to hear the voices of the people and reflect on some other plans and measures and perhaps a very brief 3-day team building and come up with a business plan for the next 3 months given that you have a new epicenter right now," he said.

"Now you have 2 epicenters. We cannot fight too many battles considering we have finite resources and manpower."

President Rodrigo Duterte extended Metro Manila's general community quarantine to June 30 while he put Cebu City under strict lockdown due to its increasing number of virus cases.

Leachon made the remark after what he called an "episodic emotional outburst" on social media due to frustrations on the Department of Health's data, which he said should be "corrected, enhanced and improved."

"It’s something you want to express without of course assaulting the health agency. I know there are unrecognized men and women who are working day and night but sometimes looking at the big picture, there are more than 1,000 lives lost, many healthcare workers who have perished, there are many people who are jobless," he said.

"And all of these things will be solved if you could come up with timely, real-time, credible and trustworthy and granular data."

The DOH over the weekend issued a clarification on the recent spike of reported COVID-19 deaths 2 days before government's inter-agency task force was set to decide on the fate of community quarantine in several areas.

As of Monday, the Philippines has recorded 26,420 COVID-19 cases with 6,252 recoveries and 1,098 deaths.