MANILA -- The country has overcome spikes in COVID-19 cases before, and it will do so again by listening to health experts and adapting accordingly.
This according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who on Monday said that the government had decided to institute the stringent restrictions beginning Friday, August 6, as it had anticipated a possible increase in COVID cases due to the virus' more virulent Delta variant.
Nograles, co-chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), agreed with assessments that the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila was timely, and credited the vigilant monitoring of COVID variants by the Department of Health (DOH), as well as the ability of the government to quickly act on its recommendations, for the appropriate interventions now being implemented to prevent further increases in the number of cases.
"Given what we know about the Delta variant, the increases in the cases the past few days and the increase in the positivity rate were not unexpected, and we understood that if decisive steps were not taken there would even be more cases," said Nograles.
Nograles said "we hope the public recognizes that such steps are necessary at this point, and that these circuit-breaker quarantines have been proven in the past to be effective in preventing cases from ballooning."
The OCTA research group has commended the government for taking swift action to address the increase in COVID cases, and said that if the decision to implement the ECQ was delayed to Aug. 15, "NCR would have breached 4,500 new cases per day, which would likely extend the lockdown and cause more negative impact on people and the economy."
Nograles reissued a call he had made at the beginning of the pandemic, appealing to the public to leave their homes only for essentials.
"Bahay muna, buhay muna. This is even more important now given how this Delta variant works," stressed the Palace official.
"At kung kailangan lumabas, wag kalimutan mag face mask at face shield. With the cooperation of the public, we were able to reduce the number of cases before and we were able to loosen the restrictions to allow more economic activity," he added.
"Nagawa natin dati sa tulong at kooperasyon ng ating mga kababayan, at magagawa natin yan muli." (OCS)