MANILA – The national government is on track with the target of bringing down Covid-19 cases by the time the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila is lifted on Aug. 20, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the two-week ECQ seemed to be working because daily Covid-19 cases are not exceeding projections made by FASSSTER, despite the more transmissible nature of the Covid-19 Delta variant.
FASSSTER is a disease surveillance tool developed by the Ateneo De Manila University with funding from the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology. It was turned over to the Department of Health (DOH) in September 2020.
“We seem to be on track po dahil hindi naman po sumipa (because cases are not going) beyond the projections of FASSSTER. And if we continue with our planned course of action, it will always be below 20,000. Iyon po ang ating (that is our) goal,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
He said the country is aiming to bring down daily Covid-19 cases below FASSSTER’s projected 25,000 daily cases.
“That’s what we’re aiming for na mapababa po natin ang kaso (to reduce cases) below 25,000. Today is August 19. Kung titingnan ninyo ang pinakamalapit na petsa sa graph na ito ay August 22. At sa August 22, more or less, ilang ang recorded number natin ng kaso (If you look at the closest date in the graph it’s August 22. And on August 22, how many number of cases have we recorded)? It is below 20,000. So it’s below 20,000 and we are below 20,000,” he added.
By imposing a two-week ECQ and slowly easing quarantine restrictions, Roque said the country will be able to avoid FASSSTER’s projected “worst-case scenario” of reaching over 500,000 active Covid-19 cases by the end of September.
“Kapag tayo po ay nag-impose ng two-week ECQ at saka ang ginawa nga po natin, iyong GCQ with heightened and additional restrictions at siguro isa pang classification after the two-week ECQ ay hindi po naman aabot doon sa worst-case scenario na 525,000 ang magiging kaso ng Covid by September 28 (If we impose a two-week ECQ and a GCQ with heightened and additional restrictions and other classification after the two-week ECQ we will not experience the worst-case scenario of 525,000 Covid cases by September 28),” he said.
Roque, however, said daily Covid-19 cases are not expected to significantly drop by the end of the ECQ period.
“According to the FASSSTER projection, hindi naman po biglaang bagsak po ang mga magiging kaso natin after ECQ (cases won’t immediately drop after ECQ). It will take not only the end of the 14-day period, but a further four, five days bago po natin makita iyong pagbaba ng mga kaso (before we see a drop in the number of cases),” he said.
National Task Force Against Covid-19 deputy chief implementer and testing czar Vince Dizon, in the same briefing, said the national government is ramping up testing efforts during the ECQ period.
He said the country is currently averaging 60,000 tests per day, compared to 50,000 average tests per day two weeks ago
As of Thursday, the country logged 14,895 new Covid-19 cases pushing the total to 1,791,003.
Recoveries climbed to 1,648,402 after 8,248 more people got well while the death toll reached 30,881 with 258 new deaths. (PNA)