Workers ride their bicycles home in Manila on May 20, 2020.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
WHO: COVID-19 cases in Philippines ‘not rapidly decreasing’ despite quarantine measures
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - May 27, 2020 - 12:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization advised Filipinos that it is still better to stay at home as the Philippines has not seen a rapid drop in coronavirus cases even with the implementation of stringent quarantine measures. 

Dr. Takeshi Nishijima, WHO Western Pacific technical officer, stressed the importance of staying at home and practicing preventive measures as the country is set to further ease restrictions on movement after a nearly-three month lockdown.

The WHO officer said the public should be aware of the potential of “having large number of new cases again.”

“It’s very important to stay at home for the public to prevent further spread of infection. As we are seeing, the number of newly-reported cases in the Philippines is not rapidly decreasing even after the strict implementation of community quarantine,” Nishijima said in a Department of Health briefing Tuesday afternoon.

The DOH reported 350 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, pushing the total number of confirmed cases to 14,669. This is the highest single-day tally since April 6 when the country recorded 414 additional infections.

For most of the month, new cases exceeded the 200-level. Sixty-four percent of the confirmed infections were logged in Metro Manila since the outbreak began in March.

The total number of recoveries increased to 3,412, while the death toll rose to 886 Tuesday.

“In the Philippines, we are seeing the new number of cases, which is kind of stabilized a bit. We are hoping it will decrease in the future. I think we need to be prepared to continue what [we are doing] right now,” Nishijima said as he urged Filipinos to stay home, observe physical distancing, and practice cough etiquette and frequent handwashing.

Government officials have repeatedly said the Philippines has begun flattening the curve, citing the slower case and mortality doubling time, and the drop in positivity rate.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to decide this week whether or not further ease the coronavirus lockdown of the capital region and other areas at high risk of virus transmission.

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