PH’s Covid-19 cases ‘contained’ but still prepare for worst-case scenario—DOH

A passenger (C) sits inside a tricycle covered with a reminder to wear a mask, part of the Covid-19 health protocols, in Manila on February 16, 2022. Ted ALJIBE / AFP

The Department of Health (DOH) believes that the country has already been able to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus since the pandemic started two years ago.

“So far, given our measures and interventions, it appears to be contained already and the data will support that claim,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during an online forum on Wednesday, June 8.

However, the public should not let their guards down yet as the Covid-19 virus is “notorious for mutations,” said Duque, adding that it is “capable of springing surprises.”

Duque cited the Covid-19 situation last December 2021 wherein the Philippines logged at least 200 cases per day. However, the country again experienced a surge in cases in January this year due to the Omicron coronavirus variant. During that time, the Philippines recorded over 30,000 cases per day. Currently, the average number of cases daily is at 185.

“So we have to be realistic. We should temper our expectations. What is more important is the realization that the virus is here to stay,” he said.

“The challenge here is the unpredictability of the virus. Hindi mo masabi kung ano ang kanyang mutation (You cannot predict its mutations),” he said.

Despite the country’s low case trend currently, Duque advised the next administration to always be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

“This is also one piece of advice that I would like to get across with the next administration: despite the current stage of the pandemic right now, we must always be prepared for the worst scenario. That is very important,” he said.

The Health chief said that the next administration should study thoroughly the proposals to lift the state of calamity due to Covid-19.

“I hope the new president will assess the situation and if there is any plan to lift it, I hope they will really take time to study and to look at the metrics and what new information and science offer in terms of the evolving variants of concern,” said Duque.

The validity of the Covid-19 state of calamity will be until September of this year.

Related story: Lifting of state of calamity due to Covid-19 still under discussion—DOH