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Duque Says COVID Surge Could Surpass 2020 Peak if Left Unchecked

Don't let your guard down.
by Arianne Merez
Mar 16, 2021
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the surge in COVID cases could surpass the 2020 peak unless infections are capped, as he called for strict implementation of health protocols.

Duque said the loosening of restrictions that allowed people to move more freely was driving the spike in infections. On Monday alone, the Department of Health reported 5,404 new cases as big hospitals in Metro Manila said they were starting to filling up.

Fast-rising cases in mid-2020 forced a rollback to MECQ, the second lowest quarantine, for Metro Manila. It was later loosed by one notch, to GCQ, the second lowest, and has stayed there since September.

"Kinakailangan ho talaga mahinto itong mga kasong ito. At kung hindi po ay baka lumagpas pa tayo, mas mataas pa doon sa ating July, August peak of COVID cases," Duque told President Rodrigo Duterte in a meeting.

The Philippines reported its highest single-day increase on Aug. 10, 2020 with 6,958 new cases.

Continue reading below ↓


COVID Cases Continue to Surge with Over 5,000 New Infections

Like in 2020, Big Metro Manila Hospitals Start to Fill Up

Unless steps are taken to stop the surge, the Philippines could record as many as 8,000 COVID cases daily by the end of March, the OCTA Research Group said earlier this week.

Left unchecked by April, Metro Manila alone could see up to 14,000 daily cases, it added.

Duque urged local government units to intensify measures to curb the spread of the virus in their areas.

"Kaya hinihikayat po natin ang lahat ng mga local government units na talagang paigtingin po nila ang lahat po ng mga gawain, ang kanila pong preventive interventions, ang kanila pong early detection by way of aggressive case finding --- active case finding," he said.

"Hanapin na po nila sa mga komunidad sa tulong ng barangay health emergency response teams iyon pong mga tao na nagpapakita ng sintomas at sila po ay kung maaari ilabas na po kaagad at i-isolate para hindi na po makapanghawa," he added.

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Metro Manila mayors adopted a uniform curfew starting this week to limit movement in light of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Locally, additional restrictions have also been imposed in different areas such as liquor bans.

Filipinos are reminded to observe minimum health standards at all times--wear face mask and face shield, observe physical distancing, and proper handwashing--to stay safe from the virus. 


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