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Palace: No rush to shift to stricter quarantine level

Malacañang said Monday there was no hurry for the country to shift to stricter quarantine measures amid rising COVID-19 cases, saying the country still had adequate hospital capacity to treat COVID-19 patients.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said there was no need to call for a stricter measure or shifting to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

“The government has performed an “excellent” job in controlling the spread of the coronavirus pandemic almost a year since a lockdown was first imposed in the country,” he said.

“Let’s say the cases increase, we’re ready to give medical attention to those who will have serious cases,” Roque added.

Roque said the country has recorded lower cases of COVID-19 infections and deaths, compared to other countries that are “more economically wealthy and (with) more developed health sectors.

The Palace official added the government’s decision to impose community quarantine in mid-March last year was “timely.” since hospitals were able to build more beds and the construction of COVID facilities.

“We were excellent. We controlled the spread of the illness especially if we are compared to richer countries with more modern hospitals,” he said.

The Philippines now ranks 30th among world nations with most COVID-19 cases at 594,412. The country also placed 65th in terms of case fatality rate at 2.1 percent. As of March 7, the country’s death toll has reached 12,516.

The country also placed 65th in terms of case fatality rate at 2.1 percent. As of March 7, the country’s death toll has reached 12,516.

Roque also attributed the government’s decision to impose community quarantine in Mid March which he said was “timely,” providing hospitals time to prepare for beds and for the construction of COVID facilities.

Economic reopening

The Philippines’ economic reopening depends on how government would do it, a doctor said Monday as she urged the public to comply with minimum health standards.

Dr. Pauline Convocar, president of the Philippine College of Emergency Medicine, said the rise in COVID-19 hospital admissions was still manageable and hopefully would not reach last year's level.

"For me, vaccination is only an added protection but we still have to follow minimum standards. Reopening is not about the when, let the numbers speak for itself. It’s not the when but the how, how we will open the economy safely,” she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

Treatment czar Leopoldo Vega has confirmed hospitalization is rising in Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, and Central Visayas but the regions' healthcare capacity was still under "moderate risk" level.

The rise in cases might be due to the country's economy reopening, the public becoming "relaxed" in observing health protocols, and the entry of new coronavirus variants, Vega said.

Rotation suspended

The Association of Philippine Medical Colleges (APMC) suspended Monday the face-to-face internship rotation of medical students in Metro Manila due to the surge of COVID-19 cases.

In an advisory, APMC President Manuel Dayrit said the suspension would remain until further notice. Learnings may proceed virtually.

In hospitals outside the capital region, respective directors may decide on the suspension of face-to-face rotation guided by announcements or information from government, the former health secretary said.

"Everyone is reminded to observe the Universal Pandemic Precaution on the wearing of face mask and shield, physical distancing, frequent handwashing, (and) keeping a well ventilated and routinely disinfected workplace," Dayrit said.

Hospitalization rising

Hospitalization due to COVID-19 is rising in Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, and Central Visayas but the regions' healthcare capacity is still under "moderate risk" level, treatment czar Leopoldo Vega said.

The rise in cases might be due to the country's economy reopening, the public becoming "relaxed" in observing health protocols, and the entry of new coronavirus variants, Vega said.

The OCTA Research Team said the surge might be due to the spread of new COVID-19 variants and warned that Metro Manila could reach 3,000 new cases per day by the end of the month.

CopperMask 'not good'

Face masks with gaps such as that of the popular CopperMask appeared to be not as effective in protecting users against COVID-19, the Department of Health on Monday reiterated, as reported cases of the respiratory disease rose anew.

“We at the DOH do not recommend masks that have gaps on the sides, at the top and the bottom. We are aware that CopperMask has a slit or hole under the chin so it might not be that good of a mask for COVID-19 prevention.),” said Dr. Rodley Carza, head of the DOH’s Policy and Technology Division, during a media briefing.

Carza said DOH only swore by "masks that are properly fitted," when asked if officials could regulate influencers promoting CopperMask.

While copper-infused face masks have become popular due to its alleged antimicrobial layer, some types reportedly have an opening at the bottom of the mask or on the chin.

Sellers have branded CopperMask as giving "double protection with style." It retails from P350-400 per piece.

Topics: quarantine measures , COVID-19 , ECQ , MECQ , Pauline Convocar
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