Contrary to a statement of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III that the Philippines is already on its second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department of Health (DOH) has corrected its statement on Thursday and apologized for the mistake, saying that the country is still on its “first wave.”
“Earlier presidential spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that we are still in the first wave of the epidemic. The DOH confirms that, yes we are on the first wave driven by a local community transmission,” Dr. Beverly Ho, director of the DOH Promotion and Communications Service, said during a televised briefing.
“We apologize for the confusion that this has caused but we hope that this does not in any way distract us from what we really need to do to change the course of this pandemic,” Ho said.
The DOH official said this just a few hours after Roque said that Duque’s initial statement was based on his personal opinion.
Ho said the country is still on its first wave, at least the one “driven by local community transmission.”
“Kung matatandaan niyo po local community transmission happened noong nagsimula po tayo magreport ng cases ng mga kababayan natin sa walang exposure sa mga positive cases o kaya walang travel history (If you remember, local community transmission happened when we first reported cases of Filipinos without exposure to positive cases or without travel history),” Ho said.
“We are still in this wave,” Ho stressed.
Ho confirmed that the peak of the current wave happened on March 31 when the country recorded 538 new COVID-19 cases.
“Since then the average number of cases has declined to around 220 cases per day,” she pointed out.
“This is the reason why we are saying that we have started to flatten the curve,” she said./Stacy Ang