DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The number of Covid-19 cases in the Philippines has breach 10,000 on Wednesday, but health officials said that the epidemic curve in the country has started to “flatten”.
The Department of Health (DOH) announced 320 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the country’s total to 10,004, as of May 6, 4pm.
The number of patients who have recovered from the disease is now at 1,506, with 98 new recoveries on May 6. While 21 deaths were recorded on the same day, bringing the total of Covid-19 fatalities up to 658.
While the 320 cases is the highest single-day increase in a month, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted the country is now slowing down the transmission of the virus.
Dr. John Wong, an epidemiologist serving in the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease explained that it now took longer days for new cases and deaths to double.
According to Wong, the previous average doubling time of new cases nationwide was at 2.5 days, but now the average doubling time is at 4.6 days.
He added that the doubling time of deaths now takes 7 days in the country except for the National Capital Region.
“We cannot say that we won the battle against Covid-19 until we have a vaccine, but at least for now, temporarily, we’ve been able to control the outbreak and buy time for the health system to increase its capacity,” Wong said.
But the Coalition for People’s Right to Health (CPRH) in their statement Tuesday bared the reported shortage of test kits and reagents for Covid-19 in some testing laboratories, resulting in increasing backlogs.
“With barely over 6,000 tests being done per day in just 23 accredited facilities across the country, samples pile up and take as much as almost two weeks for a result,” CPRH spokesperson Dr. Josh San Pedro said.
The group remains wary with the DOH report that only 0.1% of the population has been tested, as DOH targeted 30,000 swab tests per day by the end of May.
“In some instances, testing is diverted to accredited private laboratories, but at added cost to patients and the national government,” he added.
CPRH demands the DOH to “proactively monitor” existing COVID-19 laboratories, at the same, increase the country’s health capacities.
“Only by addressing shortcomings in testing capacity and fixing laboratory efficiency will it ensure an efficient and clearer analysis of the true number of infections in the country, instead of biased analyses of only what is available and convenient,” said San Pedro.
The group expressed concern with less than two weeks remain for the enhanced community quarantine to expire in areas in the country with a high number of Covid-19 cases. (davaotoday.com)