‘Good job in slowing down COVID-19 spread not reason for complacency,’ says Roque

Published September 7, 2020, 5:17 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The nation did “a good job” in slowing down the spread of the coronavirus, particularly in Metro Manila, but must not be complacent in the fight against the pandemic, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the “gains” in the coronavirus battle such as the decrease in the coronavirus reproduction number must be sustained to further slow down the spread of the illness.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.

A member of the University of the Philippines-OCTA Research earlier reported that the country has flattened the curve of the coronavirus, citing the decrease of the case reproduction number to less than one. The rate refers to the number of infections generated by one infected person.

“Ayon sa OCTA Research, the Philippines has already flattened the COVID-19 curve. Ganoon pa man, tatandaan po natin, ang lead agency talaga po dito sa bagay na ito ay ang Department of Health (Nonetheless, we must remember the lead agency in this matter is the Department of Health),” he said during a televised press briefing Monday.

“Indeed, the actions that we have taken are working. Now hindi ibig sabihin na habang meron na tayong flattening of the curve ay dapat maging kampante na tayo. Hindi po. Nandiyan pa rin ang virus. Hindi ibig sabihin nag-flatten ang curve ay natatapos na ang ating.. na magpapabaya na tayo (Now it does not mean that just because we have a flattening of the curve, we will be complacent. We must not. The virus is still there. It does not mean that just because the curve has been flattened, we would be neglectful),” he added.

Roque urged the public to continue to observe health measures such as wearing of masks and face shields, physical distancing and frequently washing of hands, to further contain the spread of the illness.

“Bagamat (Although) we did a good job, we need to do more and we need to sustain our gains,” he said.

The Palace official cited the UP-OCTA research study in highlighting the improving health situation in the country. He said the country’s reproduction rate fell to 0.92 from August 29 to September 4, from 1.47 last July 25 to 31.

The country’s number of new daily cases also dropped to 3,463 from August 29 to September 4, from 4,265 recorded last July 25 to 31, according to Roque.

In the case of Metro Manila considered the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, Roque welcomed the situation has improved as result of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) implemented last month.

He said the new daily COVID cases of Metro Manila have decreased to 2,554 from August 29 to September 4, from 3,360 from July 25 to 31.

The coronavirus reproduction number of Metro Manila was recorded at 0.94 from August 24 to Sept. 1, lower than the 1.49 posted last month.

He said Metro Manila’s positivity rate of people that took the coronavirus test likewise decreased to 12 percent from August 29 to Sept. 4, from 17 percent from July 25 to 31. He said they must continue to strive to bring down the positivity rate to 5 percent.

The capital region has moved to the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of September after a two-week implementation of the stricter MECQ early August. The MECQ status was approved by the President following the timeout plea of the medical community to prevent the collapse of the health system.

According to Roque, the country’s hospital bed capacity is longer within the “danger level” based on the data submitted by the Department of Health.

Of the estimated 1,800 intensive care unit beds, 48 percent of these beds are occupied. “Mayroon tayong 52 percent na ICU beds na available.  Wala na po tayo sa danger level (We have 52 percent available ICU beds. We are no longer in the danger level),” Roque said.

At least 44 percent of the 13,500 isolation beds are in use while 49 percent of the 5,7000 ward beds are occupied. At least 29 percent of the 2,200 ventilators are being used.

“Kinakailangan diretso lang ang ating pagma-mask, pag social distancing, ang paghuhugas ng kamay para masigurado natin na hindi tataas muli ang R0 ng metro Manila (We need to continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, washiest hands to ensure the reproduction number of Metro Manila will not increase again),” Roque said

“Gawin ang dapat gawin para bumaba ang positivity rate at pababain ang case doubling rate (Let’s do what we must to further bring down the positivity rate and case doubling rate),” he said.