COVID-19 problem in the Philippines may last until 2021 if no intervention will be done —DOH



The Philippines’ fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may drag on for months, even until 2021,  if proper interventions would not be implemented, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday.

“Ang ating mga estimation galing po ‘yan sa ating mga scientist, sa mga mathematician. Nagkaroon po tayo ng tatlong modelling estimates na ginawa kung saan ang timeline ranged from hanggang third quarter of the year and maybe worst case scenario base sa kanilang pag-aaral ay next year po ng January. But these are all estimations,” Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing, citing studies by experts.

“Ito’y mangyayari kung wala tayong gagawing intervention,” she added.

Vergeire said that without a vaccine against COVID-19, the Philippines uses non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing and frequent hand-washing to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Vergeire said that it could take about six to 18 months before a vaccine against COVID-19, which is a new strain of coronavirus,  can be developed and distributed to the public.

In a separate briefing, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the COVID-19 situation in the country could have been worse if President Rodrigo Duterte did not place Luzon under enhanced community quarantine in March.

“Take a look at the other countries, iyong mas mayaman sa atin, tingnan ninyo ang mga numero nila – iyon ang lagi naming binabalikan,” Nograles said.

“Kung hindi agad nag-declare ng enhanced community quarantine si Pangulong Duterte when he did, when there were people who were even saying na OA, you can only imagine how overstretch na siguro tayo kung hindi agad tayo nag-declare ng ECQ,” said Nograles.

Based on the DOH’s online tracker, a total of 33,814 persons have undergone COVID-19 tests nationwide.

The DOH will procure test kits good for the next three months, according to Vergeire.

It has earlier projected that it will be able to conduct 3,000 COVID-19 tests per day starting April 14.

The capacity to test is expected to reach 8,000 to 10,000 daily by the end of the month.

An enhanced community quarantine will be implemented over Luzon and other affected areas until April 30./Stacy Ang

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