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'Philippines could have 75,000 COVID-19 cases in 5 months’

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
'Philippines could have 75,000 COVID-19 cases in 5 monthsâ
Citing studies of the World Health Organization, Año said a person with COVID-19 can potentially infect around 100 people if not immediately isolated.
Boy Santos / File

MANILA, Philippines — The number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country could reach 75,000 in five months if efforts to contain the spread of the virus fail, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año warned yesterday.

Citing studies of the World Health Organization, Año said a person with COVID-19 can potentially infect around 100 people if not immediately isolated.

“Kapag hindi tayo gumawa ng (If we don’t take) drastic actions, in five months we (could) have 75,000 positive cases,” Año said in an interview over radio station dzBB.

The Department of Health (DOH) has reported that at least 111 have been infected by the virus with at least nine dead as of writing.

The DILG chief cited the case of Italy, which has been placed on a nationwide lockdown after the virus spread exponentially.

“Ganyan din ’yung nangyari sa Italy noon. Kaunti lang numero, sabi nila (That’s what happened to Italy before. The number is small, people said),” he said.

With the increasing number of people getting infected with the virus every day, it could no longer be denied that Metro Manila is already contaminated by COVID-19, according to Año.

“Nandito ’yung ating contamination (Our contamination is here). We cannot deny it anymore,” he said in a separte interview over radio station dzMM.

Año is appealing to Metro Manila residents to follow authorities in the implementation of the 30-day community quarantine.

Metro Manila has been placed under a month-long quarantine starting yesterday. At least 79 security checkpoints have been put in place at borders connecting the nation’s capital to the provinces of Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan.

Año said residents who have no important activities should just remain in their homes while the community quarantine is in place. Local government units are expected to have their respective curfew ordinances by today, which will be in effect from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

If the situation worsens, Año is not discounting the possibility that a total lockdown of Metro Manila will be imposed similar to Italy, where residents are confined in their homes.

The government has also prohibited any form of mass gatherings to prevent the virus from spreading. This includes closing down shopping malls and suspending religious mass activities.

Even holding birthday celebrations should also be avoided, according to Año as this is also a form of public gathering.

4 COVID-19 patients in Calabarzon

Four COVID-19 patients have been recorded in Calabarzon region as of yesterday.

Three of them are from Batangas while one is from Santa Rosa City in Laguna.

The patients are being treated at undisclosed hospitals, although Santa Rosa City Mayor Arlene Arcillas said the case in Laguna, whom she identified as Santa Rosa Patient 1, is being treated at the Medical City South Luzon Hospital.

The patient, a 41-year-old man who reportedly has a history of travel in Japan, lives in the city’s Barangay Tagapo. He voluntarily went to the hospital for checkup.

Arcillas said contact-tracing is being done by the city health center to locate the patient’s close contacts.

The profiles of the rest of the patients are being withheld for security reasons.

In Biñan, the local government on Saturday staged a rescue drill for coronavirus patients to show its residents the effects and ways of handling a COVID-19 situation. 

Meanwhile, around 349 police officers were deployed yesterday to man several checkpoints in various entrance and exit points for Metro Manila in the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon region, according to Calabarzon spokesperson Capt. Mary Anne Torres.

On the first day of implementation of the community quarantine in Metro Manila yesterday, Torres said Calabarzon police officers were stationed at several checkpoints on South Luzon Expressway toll in Laguna, STAR toll in Batangas, Daang Hari road in Bacoor City and Carmona in Cavite, Tanay in Rizal, and boundaries in Quezon, Laguna and Bicol region.  – With Ed Amoroso

EDUARDO ANO
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