Duterte 'happy' with improvement in pandemic response

Published May 10, 2021, 10:33 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The pandemic-hit nation can take a breather from the blows of this public health emergency.

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Duterte said he was “happy” to announce that the country could brace for “some positive news” given the recent improvement in the pandemic response.

Duterte started his public address by dropping hints about the progress in the fight against the pandemic, from the country’s improved health care capacity to the vaccination drive.

“We are still in the subject of our fight against COVID-19. And of late, the past few days, we have seen a lot of improvements in the system sa ating ginawa para sa COVID-19 panlaban (in our fight against COVID-19),” Duterte said in his remarks from Davao City.

“I am also happy to report to you that today, now, there will be some positive news for all of us,” he said.

The President then let Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. take the floor and present their reports to the nation.

Duque first gave an update on the coronavirus situation in the country, citing the drop in the cases of infections in National Capital Region. The health care utilization rate in Metro Manila and the rest of the country has also decreased amid improvements in the hospital bed capacity.

Galvez, in his report, said the country has so far received 7.5 million doses of coronavirus vaccines. He said the government expects the country’s supply will increase to 11.3 million this month of May with the arrival of more doses.

By June, the vaccine supply will further jump to 20.5 million doses. The new batches of vaccines are expected to come from Pfizer, Sinovac, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Sputnik V.

At least 2.4 million vaccines doses have been administered since the government started its free inoculation drive. Of this number, 1.95 million received the first shot of vaccines while 451,270 got the second shot.

Galvez also said the government aims for a “better Christmas” as it moves to inoculate 58 million to 70 million Filipinos and achieve herd immunity by November 2021. The government hopes to eliminate the disease by the second quarter of 2022.

As of May 10, the country reported 6,846 active cases that pushed the total number to 1,108,826. More than 1 million people recovered from the illness while 18,562 died in the country.

Earlier, the Palace announced that it was possible for National Capital Region plus to shift to the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) by mid-May due to reduction in cases as well as improved health care capacity. From a two-week strict lockdown last April, Metro Manila and the four nearby provinces have been placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 14.