With the rising number of persons infected with the new coronavirus disease in the Philippine capital, authorities might place the region under strict quarantine measures again.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said “there is a possibility that we won’t graduate to the next phase” if the numbers continue to rise.
“If the trend continues, either we will remain under [the general community quarantine] or we may go back to modified [enhanced community quarantine],” he said.
For the past three days, the country’s health department has been reporting about 300 fresh cases daily, which is higher than the previous weeks.
Roque said, however, that the decision to impose stricter quarantine measure will depend on the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease.
“We will look at the case doubling rate, we will look at the critical care capacity,” said Roque.
On June 1, the Philippine government placed the capital region into a more relaxed “general community quarantine” to allow the economy to slowly recover.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the spike in “fresh cases” of infection in the past three days “doesn’t mean COVID-19 cases are actually rising.”
“We’re fixing this, and the data analytics group is also working on this to give the proper recommendation to the inter-agency task force,” she said.
Vergeire said the increase could be “a function of reporting since we’re already completing the daily submission of the list of cases from laboratories.”
The health official said the rise “could be because of the delayed testing of the samples brought to the laboratories.”
“As I’ve said, maybe the sample for this test was received five days before it was actually tested, but was only tested three days ago,” she added.
As of June 9, the Philippines has recorded 22,992 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,017 deaths, and 4,736 people who recovered from the disease.
The World Health Organization on June 7 has warned that the coronavirus pandemic “is getting worse” after 136,000 people tested positive in a single day.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of COVID-19 cases in many countries including Asia has risen.
“This is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal,” he said. “This is the time for countries to carry on working hard on the basis of science, solutions, and solidarity.”
There are some 7.3 million confirmed cases of the new coronavirus disease with more than 413,000 deaths affecting 213 countries and territories around the world.