NTF urges Duterte to make pronouncement on safe holiday revelry

Published December 14, 2020, 5:18 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 will urge President Duterte to make a public announcement on how the Filipinos can spend the Christmas season safely as the number of active COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila slightly increased.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

“Gagawa kami ng recommendation to the President, through the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases], na magkaroon ng pronouncement for the public to be extra cautious this coming holiday season. (We will make a recommendation to the President, through the IATF, to make a pronouncement for the public to be extra cautious this comnig holiday season),” said Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., NTF chief implementer, in a Laging Handa press briefing on Monday.

According to Dr. Guido David, of the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research, the reproductive rate of COVID-19 in Metro Manila increased from 0.99 to 1.06 this month as more people were allowed to go out of their homes due to the easing of quarantine restrictions.

The Department of Health reiterated that the reproductive rate (r naught), which measures the rate of transmission of the virus from an infected person to his close contacts, should be minimized to less than 1. 

This will ensure that the country’s health care capacity will not be overwhelmed as it can accommodate all persons who will be infected, the DOH said.

But with the slight uptick, Galvez expects that the number of active cases in Metro Manila, the epicenter of COVID-19 in the country, might surge during the holiday season.

“Sa Metro Manila umaangat na po ang active cases. Baka mabreach na po ang 3,000 kasi dati 2,500 na lang. (In Metro Manila, the active cases are increasing. It might breach the 3,000-mark which was more than the 2,500-mark it had before),” he said.

As of Sunday, data from the DOH showed that the NCR has a total of 203,028 cases. 

Of these, 192,764 have already recovered while 3,724 have died. The number of active cases, or those who have yet to recover, have already reached 6,640.

Galvez cautioned the public against attending mass gatherings as this may result to the spread of the deadly disease.

He also reminded the public about the safety protocols set by the IATF including the limit of a single gathering to 10 attendees in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) like Metro Manila, as well as the proper wearing of face mask and shield when going out of their homes, and practice of social distancing and proper hygiene.