THE PHILIPPINES seeks to flatten its coronavirus infection curve by the end of September as local governments use targeted lockdowns, according to the chief of the national task force against the pandemic.
Local government officials are critical to the goal because they are the ones who enforce anti-coronavirus measures, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who heads the task force, told an online news briefing on Sunday.
Researchers from the University of the Philippines (UP) earlier said the country could flatten the curve by September as the virus’s reproduction rate continues to decline.
In epidemiology, the idea of slowing a virus spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment at a time is known as flattening the curve.
Countries worldwide including the Philippines have imposed lockdowns and asked people to observe social distancing to slow the virus spread.
The curve researchers are talking about refers to the projected number of people who will get infected over time.
“Our goal this month is to flatten the curve,” Mr. Lorenzana said, adding that once this happens, Metro Manila could go back to a modified general community quarantine.”
“Village officials are our frontliners who enforce quarantine protocols including the wearing of face masks, social distancing and sanitation,” he said in Filipino.
The Department of Health (DoH) reported 2,839 coronavirus infections on Sunday, bringing the total to 237,365.
The death toll rose to 3,875 after 85 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 23,074 to184,687, it said in a bulletin.
There were 48,803 active cases, 88.6% of which were mild, 8% did not show symptoms, 1.4% were severe and 2% were critical.
Metro Manila had the highest the number of new infections with 1,170, followed by Negros Occidental with 195, Laguna with 190, Cavite with 182 and Rizal with 154, the agency said.
Of the new deaths, 41 came from Metro Manila, 15 from Central Visayas, nine from the Calabarzon region, four each from Eastern Visayas and Northern Mindanao, and two each from Central Luzon and the Bicol region, DoH said.
One death was reported each in Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Soccsksargen, Mimaropa, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Caraga region, and a repatriate.
More than 2.6 million individuals have been tested for the virus, the agency said.
UP researchers earlier projected more than half-a-million coronavirus cases by year-end.
They said cases could hit 402,821 to 767,611, or an average of 585,216 cases by Dec. 31 as lockdowns are eased.
The coronavirus has sickened more than 27 million and killed about 884,000 people worldwide, according to the Worldometers website, citing various sources including data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
About 19.2 million have recovered from the disease, it added. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas