India-like COVID-19 crisis may happen to PH if protocols ignored: DOH

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Friday that the COVID-19 crisis happening in India could happen to the Philippines if protocols would be ignored.

“Well, if we do not follow the minimum public standard and if we do not intensify our COVID pandemic response like what has happened in India, and also in some other countries where the second or third waves are being experienced, that’s a big possibility,” Duque said in an ANC interview.

“We cannot dip our heads into the sand and make it appear that we’re doing okay all the time. There are ways of doing things better. It’s very dynamic. Every day you have to read, every day you have to watch out for what’s happening,” Duque said.

“What are the best practices, what are the practices that are worth avoiding or making sure we avoid such measures that don’t work,” he added.

Duque reminded the country’s fight against COVID-19 is each Filipino’s responsibility. He called for unity in complying with standard protocols.

India-like COVID-19 crisis may happen to PH if protocols ignored: DOH

“At the end of the day, the war against COVID is really on the shoulders of every person. So it cannot just be the work of the national government, local government, private sector, groups, etc,” he said.

“But we’re not helpless. We are not without the power to fight this. Simple interventions eh. Face masks, face shields, physical distancing, proper ventilation, avoidance of people in superspreader events,” Duque added.

The travel ban of those coming from India took effect from 12:01 a.m., April 29 [Thursday], and will end on May 14.

Those on the trip before the start of the travel ban will be allowed to enter the Philippines.

“Napagdesisyunan that even our fellow Filipinos, hindi muna natin papapasukin for this temporary period,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in an online briefing.

The travel ban was implemented due to the sharp rise of -19 cases in India. Experts suspect that the new  variant B.1.617, described as a “double mutant,” is among the reasons for the increase in virus infection in India.

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