Duque warns of ‘beginning surge’ of COVID-19 cases

By: Cathrine Gonzales - Inquirer.net | December 17,2020 - 12:59 PM

FILE PHOTO: The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via REUTERS.

MANILA, Philippines — There are already signs of a “beginning surge” of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in parts of Metro Manila, as well as in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and Cordillera Administrative Region, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday.

“There are already signs of a beginning surge, with higher attack rates in about eight cities of Metro Manila and higher two-week growth rate change from negative to positive growth,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.

“This is alarming and that is why I go out almost every day reminding our people of the importance of complying with the minimum health standards,” he added.

In a text message to INQUIRER.net, Duque said he was referring to “Regions 1, 2, CAR, and NCR.”

He said areas in Metro Manila with signs of the beginning surge of COVID-19 cases are the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Marikina, Quezon, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, and Malabon.

Duque stressed that the public should continue to observe health protocols especially in public places to prevent the spread of the virus.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (taken Feb. 4, 2020)
PHOTO BY EDWIN BACASMAS

In terms of detection of cases, he said the Department of Health (DOH) is ramping up its testing capacity and efforts for contract tracing in anticipation of the surge of infections.

“We are ramping up our testing capacity, our daily testing output which on the average is about 34,000. We hope that the positivity rate will be lower,” said Duque.

Sec. Vince Dizon undergoing COVID-19 testing at SMC’s new lab

“We are ramping up our temporary treatment monitoring facilities,” he added.

As of Wednesday, the country has already logged a total of 452,988 COVID-19 cases, including 24,873 active cases, 419,282 recoveries, and 8,833 deaths.

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