DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III has said the country had made it past the crisis stage of the coronavirus pandemic.
On February 17, Duque noted the improvement of the two-week average growth rate average daily attack rate (ADAR) healthcare utilization.
“Nalagpasan na natin kasi low risk na nga tayo,” he said, adding that the two-week growth data is down by negative 81 percent while the ADAR is at 7 cases per 100,000 people.
“Tapos ang ating health systems capacity nasa low risk, mga a little over 30% lang ang kama na nagagamit, so 3 out of 10. Mababa siya,” he explained.
However, he doesn’t see why the government would drop the face mask mandate, especially during election season.
“Hindi ako naniniwala na malapit na ang panahong tanggalin ang face mask policy kasi, lalo na meron tayong campaign rallies. Lalo pa natin dapat paigtingin ang pagsunod sa minimum health standards,” he told reporters.
“In about six to nine months, na wala nang surge baka pwede na tayong magtanggal, but depending on the data,” he added.
Duque also questioned why some people are big on making the use of face masks an issue.
“’Di po dapat magmadali, sayang naman. Nagmadadali ka, pag sumipa na naman ang kaso. Tumaas ang mechanical ventilator use rate mo. I alert level 4? 5? Ano, mag ECQ tayo? Ano, sarado na naman tayo? Ano ba naman ‘yung pag ma-mask?,”
He welcomed the idea of easing health restrictions for campaigning but advised the elderly to avoid attending as they are at a higher risk of catching the disease.
“So, siguro sabihin natin na ang mga matatanda, lalo na ang hindi bakunado, ‘wag na kayong sumali sa mga caravan at rally, baka kayo mahawahan.” he continued.
The Philippines has recorded over 2,000 cases a day for five consecutive days. Meanwhile, the DOH seeks to have more children vaccinated against COVID-19.