Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Wednesday that the fewer deaths recorded in recent days and the slowed doubling time are indications that the coronavirus in the Philippines had been managed.
As of April 22, the country has recorded 111 new cases, nine new deaths, and 39 new recoveries. That brings to a total of 6,710 confirmed cases, 446 fatalities, and 693 recoveries.
Duque, however, noted that DOH had yet to see if this trend would continue, especially as President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to decide whether to lift, extend or modify the Luzon lockdown today, April 23.
The health chief also said it would take “several more days” to confirm whether the slowing in the infection rate reflected the start of a downtrend.
Duque said one of the accomplishments of DOH in controlling the outbreak is the 14-day doubling time of cases.
“On April 5, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that our cases would double in four days. But that didn’t happen. This is proof that our doubling time has, in fact, been prolonged, which is good,” he said.
WHO estimated the number of cases in the Philippines would be 3,492 by April 9, based on four-day doubling time.
The DOH, however, recorded 6,459 cases 15 days later, on April 20.
Duque said the “next few days might help us get a more complete picture” when asked how close the government is to reduce infections to a manageable level.
He warned that the COVID-19 cases would “certainly” spike if the existing Luzon-wide lockdown would be suddenly lifted.
Cebu reports “unique” of COVID-19 transmission to a newborn
A newborn baby in Cebu City tested positive of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Health authorities, however, said it is a “unique” case as the baby’s mother was not infected by the deadly virus.
“The presence of a newborn case in the region needs further validation on how transmission occurred since the mother tested negative,” Dr. Jaime Bernadas, Department of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas regional director said.
Bernadas explained there are researches that a “transmission from infected mothers to newborn infants” is possible or what they call “vertical transmission” in medical science.
WHO, meanwhile, still does not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. To date, the virus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.