Amid the declining number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases daily, the Department of Health (DOH) said it will seek the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO) with regards to the status of the country’s COVID-19 situation.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said such an assessment from the international body will help them in determining if the spread of coronavirus in the Philippines is already under control or contained.
“For two weeks, we hope to have a positivity rate lower than five percent. And we will ask the guidance of WHO if we can already declare that the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines has been controlled or contained,” said Duque on Wednesday, Nov. 24.
In its case update on Tuesday, the DOH announced a 2.3 percent positivity rate, citing the test results of 25,562 people last Sunday, Nov. 21.
The WHO’s benchmark for positivity rate is five percent or lower for 14 days. “A low [percentage] of positive samples indicates low community transmission,” the WHO stated in its “Public Health Criteria to Adjust Public Health and Social Measures in the Context of COVID-19” which was released in May last year.
Since Nov. 1, the COVID-19 cases in the Philippines have ranged between 900 to 2,600 cases per day.
As COVID-19 cases continue to drop, Duque reminded the public to strictly adhere to the health protocols such as wearing of face masks, observing physical distancing, and frequent handwashing.
“We should avoid the 3Cs—the close spaces, crowded areas, and the close contact settings. If you cannot help it, wear your face shield. Face shield is still very important. It is an extra layer of protection and it will be good for our people,” said Duque.
The health chief reminded the public about the surge in COVID-19 cases being experienced by some European countries currently.
“They are on the fourth or fifth wave…many of them—-western European countries, their rise (in cases is) quite steep. So, we don’t want that. Vaccination cannot be the only key. We have to complement this with our minimum public health standards,” he added.