UP EXPERTS: WORST-CASE SCENARIO AVERTED, PUBLIC COOPERATION VITAL IN CONTINUED FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

Press Release/15 June 2020

Over three months have passed since the start of the initial Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and the nationwide strategy to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic has shown promising results, according to experts.

In today’s Beat COVID-19 Virtual Presser, Health Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire discussed the efficacy of the government’s health initiatives and the country’s way forward with leading members of the University of the Philippines’ independent COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team.

“Bago nag-ECQ ang ating pamahalaan, ang projected bilang ng COVID-19 cases, ayun sa pagaaral ng aming team, ay maaaring umabot ng 80,000 new cases sa loob lamang ng isang araw. Yan ay ang ating worst-case scenario or do-nothing scenario,” said Dr. Emmanual Baja of the response team.

“Pero kahapon, ang bilang ng kumpirmadong may COVID-19 sa Pilipinas ay 539 lamang. Nung nagsimulang magdeklara ng ECQ ng pamahalaan, ang pinakamataas na bilang ng kumpirmadong may COVID-19 ay umabot lamang sa isang libo sa isang araw,” he noted further.

The recovery rate has been increasing while the case fatality rate (CFR) has also been steadily decreasing. The recovery rate is currently at 22.96% while the CFR is at 4.24%. Baja says this is a good indicator that the health system was well-prepared and that healthcare workers are now more capable of dealing with the illness.

Baja, along with the other members of the response team such as the Executive Director of UP Resilience Institute Dr. Alfredo Mahar Lagmay and UP Executive Vice-President Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, stressed that with the transition to General Community Quarantine, public cooperation is now more vital than ever.

“Magiiba ang bilang depende po sa kung paano tayo gumagawa ng hakbang para malabanan ang pagkalat ng COVID-19,” said Baja. “Nasa ating lahat, ang buong community, ang kakayahan para magpababa ng bilang na ito habang tayo ay nasa general community quarantine.”

As the economy slowly begins to reopen, more people are finding themselves outside and potentially exposed to the virus. The Health Undersecretary appealed to the public to continue following the health guidelines such as physical distancing, use of masks, frequent handwashing and proper hygiene, and limiting time spent in high-risk locations.

"Hindi po natin makakamit ang lahat ng ito kung hindi dahil sa pagtutulungan ng lahat ng Pilipino at pagsunod sa mga direktiba ng ating gobyerno," said the health official. "Mas lumalaki ang indibidwal na responsibilidad ng bawa’t isa sa ating mga mamamayan na siguruhing hindi sila magkakasakit.”

“Responsibilidad po natin ito lahat. Karga natin ang kaligtasan ng ating mga pamilya, mga kapitbahay, mga kaopisina, at lahat ng nakakasalamuha natin,” Singh-Vergeire said.