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Davao City, Philippines

Public should not be alarmed by jump in COVID-19 cases

July 06, 2020 - Monday 8:07 PM by PNA

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MANILA – Malacañang urged the public not to be frightened by the report that the country has recorded the highest single-day spike in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the country at 2,434 which raises the total number of cases to 44,254 as of Sunday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said while the Palace is “saddened” by the jump in single-day cases, he emphasized the need to relax quarantine protocols to jumpstart the economy.

“Marami po ang kinabahan sa ulat na ito na maging kami ay nalungkot nang una naming narinig ito. Ngunit hindi po tayo dapat panghinaan ng loob, tuloy po ang laban (There were many felt nervous about this report and even us are saddened by it. But we should not be discouraged, the fight continues),” he said in a virtual presser on Monday.

Despite the increase in Covid-19 cases, he said 94.3 percent of them were mild cases, only 0.5 percent were severe, 0.1 percent were critical, and 5.1 percent were asymptomatic.

Roque said the country’s positivity rate is currently at 7.3 percent which is still within the benchmark of the World Health Organization (WHO).

He explained that there was “no other alternative” for the government but to open the economy to protect workers and businesses from losing their source of livelihood.

“Kung hindi pa natin mabubuksan, eh baka mamaya, buhay nga tayo, mamamatay naman tayo dahil wala tayong hanapbuhay. (If we won’t open the economy, we might die not because of the virus but because we have no livelihood),” he said.

He also warned of the possibility of Metro Manila reverting to the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) if the situation worsens.

Metro Manila is currently under general community quarantine (GCQ) until July 15.

He reminded the public to follow health and safety standards such as physical distancing, wearing of face masks, and frequent handwashing.

Hospitals not full capacity

Amid “fake news” that hospitals in Metro Manila are now on full capacity, Roque denied this by clarifying that the critical care utilization was still at 63 percent as of July 5.

“Ang critical care utilization po ng Metro Manila -- at ito po ay kasama na iyong hospital beds, iyong ICU beds, iyong mechanical ventilator at saka mga isolation beds -- ay nasa 63 percent or ito po ay moderate risk pa lamang. (The critical care utilization of Metro Manila -- this includes hospital beds, ICU beds, mechanical ventilators and isolation beds -- is at 63 percent or moderate risk),” he said.

Based on a meeting between the Department of Health (DOH) and medical directors of all hospitals in Metro Manila, Roque agreed that the allotted 30 percent bed capacity of each hospital has not been breached yet.

“Lahat naman po sila na nandoon sa pulong na binubuo ng mga hospital administrators, lahat po sila ay sinabi na tama kung sasabihin ko na hindi pa po puno iyong 30 percent capacity ng lahat ng hospital beds na dedicated sa Covid (All those present during the meeting composed of hospital administrators have said that it is correct to say that the 30 percent bed capacity has not yet been breached),” he said.

Meanwhile, he also bared that Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Bong Vega will be the new head of the Hospital One Incident Command.

“Siya na po ang magiging point person sa pag-determine ng critical care utilization and hospital care and capacity (He will be the point person tasked to determine the critical care utilization and hospital care and capacity),” he said.

Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte is set to address the public in Davao City on Tuesday (July 7) to give updates on the Covid-19 situation. Azer Parrocha