Press Release / 21 May 2020
In today’s Beat COVID-19 Virtual Presser , Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho, the Director of the Health Promotion and Communication Service (HPCS) of the Department of Health (DOH) clarified that the Philippines is still on its first major wave of sustained community transmission in the COVID-19 pandemic. Director Ho represented the Department today as DOH officials attended the House of Representatives Committee on Health’s briefing on the current COVID-19 situation.
“Kung matatandaan ninyo po - local community transmission happened nung nagsimula tayong mag-report ng cases sa mga kababayan nating na walang exposure sa mga positive cases o kaya’y walang travel history,” said Dir. Ho.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explained that both interpretations about the country being in the first and second wave are factually correct. We are presently in the first wave when we consider sustained community transmission; and in the second wave when we take into account the first three (3) imported cases in January. The DOH and the rest of the Executive branch are aligned that the Philippines is presently experiencing the first waveof sustained community transmission.
Dir. Ho also reiterated that it is this wave that had peaked on March 31 when the highest number of positive cases in a day was recorded at 538. Since then, the number of cases has declined to around 220 cases per day -- one indicator why DOH declared that we have started to flatten the curve.
“We hope this does not in any way distract us from what we really need to do to change the course of this pandemic permanently,” Dir. Ho noted. “The power to change the course of this pandemic lies in all of us - how flat the curve is and how long it will remain so nakasalalay yun sa atin, to you and me and how good we are keeping in with the minimum public health standards,” she added.
“Kumbaga sa grade sa classroom, perfect ba tayo sa ating homework -- ang paghugas ng kamay, physical distancing, wearing masks, regular disinfection. And when you have cough or any symptoms, make sure you practice cough etiquette and keep yourself isolated because, remember, the most efficient spreaders are those who are experiencing symptoms,” Dir. Ho emphasized.