The Department of Health urged Filipinos to act with “extreme vigilance,” stay home and suspend non-essential travel plans for the Holy Week as the Philippines reported succeeding days of highest recorded new cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started.
On March 23, figures showed the Philippines breaching an all-time high of 8,019 new cases reported in a single day, highlighting the country’s disastrous failure to contain COVID-19 one full year after a delayed and inadequate response was launched.
As cases dangerously continue to climb, the DOH stressed that its “number one objective” now is to ensure that health care is not delayed or hampered for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
Health officials said people can help ensure that hospitals and other health centers do not get overwhelmed by acting with “extreme vigilance” and helping reduce transmission of the virus by consistently observing health practices like mask-wearing and using face shields properly, as well as observing physical distancing when in public places.
Unlike the last peak in cases experienced from July to August 2020, experts studying the pandemic said the recent spike in cases seen in Metro Manila had been especially concerning as infections were spreading quicker, prompting fears of a more threatening surge in cases.
The DOH urged all who were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to immediately reach out to their barangay health emergency response teams who will handle appropriate management and referral for testing and isolation.
In lieu of mass testing, a comprehensive and coordinate contact tracing and a mass vaccination program, all Filipinos can count on during this surge is their ability to be extremely vigilant and it is something they will all have to do in the coming weeks to survive this pandemic relatively unscathed.
The DOH has spoken. Let us follow lest we be blamed for the continued spike in COVID-19 cases and the ensuing collapse of the health care system.*