DOH should be held accountable for ‘possible Covid-19 surge’ in coming weeks – expert

Published March 17, 2022, 4:30 PM

by Charie Mae F. Abarca

Health reform advocate and former National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 special adviser Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon, on Thursday, March 17, said that the Department of Health (DOH) should be held accountable for the possible Covid-19 surge in the coming weeks.


The statement came after the Department halted its 4 p.m. habit of reporting Covid-19 cases in the country. Currently, the case bulletins are released weekly.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire previously stated that the DOH’s Covid-19 tracker, which is accessible through its official website, will still be updated regularly, but it would eventually be updated on a weekly basis like the release of the case bulletin.

Leachon, on the other hand, said that the DOH should be held accountable for the “possible resurgence of infections” that this action may bring.

“That’s actually a huge impact on us. One of the greatest resurgences in the world [which occurred in Europe was] attributed to three things: the new variants, waning immunity, and the non-compliance to the health protocols. In our country where we only have [high] vaccination rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) and highly-urbanized areas, it would be dangerous to do these sorties, and of course, all these loosening up of the restrictions in the countryside where the vaccination rate is low and weak,” Leachon said in an interview over ANC.

“You can see in the horizon that if we are not monitoring [the cases], we might have a surge like in December when we were actually loosening up. We do not want to repeat [that] and that’s the most important thing that we need to consider,” he furthered.

The resurgence of Covid-19 infections is not a foreign occurrence as it was already observed in several parts of the world amid the pandemic.

According to Leachon, the “external threats” include the current surge in Denmark, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and other countries. The surge was also seen in Asia, particularly in countries and regions with stable healthcare system such as Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and even Hong Kong.

“We are on Alert Level 1, and there was a time that the DOH was contemplating on Alert Level 0. We also have the roll out of the March 25 local election campaign sorties. These are threats for coming surges,” he added.

Leachon, however, said that he is in favor of relaxing the restrictions in the country but only with daily monitoring of the nation’s Covid-19 cases and proper precautions to assure the public that there will be no surge of infections in the coming weeks.

He also stated that the correct action is to bring back the daily reports instead of the weekly data drops.

“[The DOH] should go back to the daily reporting [of cases], not the weekly reporting [amid the] external threats right now such as the surge in Europe, China, and southeast Asia, [as well as] new variants that the World Health Organization (WHO) is monitoring. If we do the weekly reporting, we might not be able to monitor the cases, and therefore, there will be a slow response just in case we will have a surge right now,” he added.