Declining COVID-19 cases to lower risk classification
Police officers check compliance of motorists to health protocols as they pass the boundary of San Mateo, Rizal and Marikina City on Thursday, May 6, 2021. President Duterte ordered the arrest of violators who are not wearing face masks properly.
The STAR/Boy Santos

Declining COVID-19 cases to lower risk classification

Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - May 7, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The current downtrend in COVID-19 cases nationwide might lower the risk classification from high to moderate in the coming weeks, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a report to President Duterte during the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) meeting at Malacañang on Wednesday.

“The rate of increase is slower than previous weeks with NCR showing an initial decline. NCR Plus is showing an initial downtrend in terms of confirmed cases and is now lower at the start of the ECQ,” Duque said, referring to the strictest enhanced community quarantine.

“We saw that from April 4 to 17, there is 9.2 (percent) the nationwide average cases a day per 100,000 population. This figure went down slightly to 7.8 percent. If there will be a decrease of less than seven, that’s better because we can revert to moderate risk classification for the entire Philippines since we are now in the high-risk category,” he said.

The health secretary explained that from a peak of 87.8 percent (critical risk), numbers went down to 71 percent. Daily new cases also went down from 34 to 25 for April 18 to May 1.

“We are nearing the moderate risk classification. If we can lower it by two-percentage points we will reach the moderate risk classification,” he added.

Health care and ICU utilization rates also improved as priority groups A2 (elderly) and A3 (with comorbidity) start to get their second doses of the vaccine. There is also significant improvement in available mechanical ventilators, used for intubation of critical patients.

From April 4 to 17, the nationwide two-week growth rate, which stood at 11 percent, also fell. “This was previously negative 15 percent, Mr. President. So, this is a good thing. This means there is a slowdown in terms of the spread of infection,” Duque said.

On the death curve, Duque noted that 2,666 deaths recorded last month was the highest, surpassing the 2,129 fatalities logged in August last year. “But hopefully we will reach a plateau and then we can eventually lower the number of deaths,” he said.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian urged the IATF to consider implementing a unified contact tracing system, as efforts to safely reopen schools for limited face-to-face classes would be undermined if contact tracing woes are not resolved. – Cecille Suerte Felipe

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