Covid cases hit 1 million mark

Home News Covid cases hit 1 million mark

HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd recommended that the National Capital Region and the outlying areas that comprise NCR Plus remain in modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for two more weeks to enable hospitals to free up more beds for Covid-19 patients.

BUSY DAY A health worker pushes a Covid-19 patient to an isolation tent outside a hospital in Manila on Monday, April 26, 2021, as the number of infections in the Philippines surged past 1 million. AP PHOTO

Duque made the proposal on Monday as the country logged more than 1 million Covid-19 cases.

President Rodrigo Duterte might announce on Wednesday if the NCR Plus will stay in MECQ or shift to the more lenient general community quarantine (GCQ) starting May 1.

In a television interview, Duque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) sub-technical working group on data analytics has yet to consider his recommendation, but he personally favors extending the MECQ.

“’Yung ating health systems capacity, hindi pa rin masyadong nagi-improve pa, patuloy pa rin ’yung ilang syudad, may critical risk classification ang kanilang ICU (intensive care unit) capacity (The capacity of our health systems has not improved further, since hospitals in some cities are still under critical risk, especially their ICU capacity),” he said.

Duque added while cases in NCR Plus were slowly dropping, the average daily attack rate over the past two weeks continued to be high.

If the restrictions were eased, the cases could peak again, he said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire agreed with Duque that hospitals needed to be decongested first before health restrictions are relaxed.

During a media forum on Monday, Vergeire said the department’s data experts presented three scenarios: extending the MECQ for a month, for two weeks, or a downgrade to GCQ.

The addition of 8,929 new cases on Monday raised the total cases to 1,006,428.

The millionth mark was reached nearly 15 months since the country’s first infection was recorded last year.

The Department of Health said 90.9 percent of the cases, or 914,952, have recovered, while active cases went down further to 74,623.

The death toll was 16,853.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque urged the public to not just look at the total number of infections but also at the number of people who have recovered.

The public should also look at the fatality rate and the Philippines’ world ranking in terms of the number of Covid-19 cases, he said.

“Ang dapat tingnan natin ay iyong mga 900,000 na gumaling, iyong ating case fatality rate at iyong ranking natin sa buong mundo na nagpapatunay na for the rest of the world problema talaga iyong pagdami ng kaso dahil po sa new variants (The 900,000 recoveries, the case fatality rate and our ranking worldwide prove that the new Covid variants caused the surge),” Roque said.

He said the Philippines was ranked 26th among countries with the most number of Covid-19 cases. The country was previously at the 20th spot.

The country reaching the 1 million mark should not be seen as a “negative reflection,” he said.

Roque said the IATF-EID will meet today to decide the quarantine status for NCR Plus, which is made up of Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna and Rizal.

He said the President might reveal the task force’s decision on Wednesday.

NCR Plus was placed under the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for two weeks amid the surge in Covid-19 cases, which the government attributed to new Covid-19 variants.

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