The Philippines logged 20,472 recoveries from COVID-19 Sunday, bringing to 207,568 the number of patients who have recovered from the disease, but a former Health secretary said the country has still not been able to get the coronavirus under control six month after going into the world's longest lockdown.
Total recoveries represented almost 80 percent of all cases, which rose to 261,216 with the addition of 3,372 new infections Sunday.
The Department of Health also reported 79 new fatalities, bringing the death toll from COVID-19 to 4,371.
There are 49,277 active cases in which patients are being treated or under quarantine.
Former Health secretary Manuel Dayrit on Saturday said the Philippines was still unable to control the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re trying to control it, but we’re not able to control it, and that’s why it’s an upward curve. It could be far worse. But certainly, if your benchmarks are countries like Thailand or Vietnam, you know, we’re not doing as well as them,” Dayrit said in an interview on 24 Oras Weekend report.
The National Action Plan against COVID-19 acknowledged and thanked Dayrit for his observations, but said the Philippines wasn't the only country having these difficulties.
“We think our action plan will work alongside other forms of intervention that we are doing now,” deputy chief implementor of the plan Secretary Vince Dizon said in Filipino.
He also said the country would succeed if people helped each other.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, meanwhile, said more granular data will be made available to the public starting Sept. 14 to effectively address the spread of the virus from the grassroots level.
In a media forum, Vergeire said part of the intervention’s goal is to crush the clustering of COVID cases in communities through strong community engagement.
She said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has ordered the establishment of a system to reconcile and publish barangay-level data. She added that the department is coordinating with the Department of the Interior and Local Government to do this.
Duque said the publication of barangay-level data aims to increase citizen engagement and participation in the localized implementation of the country’s COVID-19 response.
Previously, this data was only available for viewing by the local government units and key agencies that have data sharing agreements.
“We are looking forward to our people being more engaged in the barangay-level response. They can be more vigilant in performing our minimum health standards,” she said.
Vergeire said this approach works alongside a directive making two critical details in contact tracing forms a must: a complete address and mobile phone number.
Adding these personal details as part of the required fields, Vergeire said, will allow more effective contact tracing of individuals who have closely interacted with COVID-infected patients.