THE Department of Health reported Monday an increase in the number of COVID cases not because of the new variants but increased cases of non-compliance with the basic protocols of face masks, distancing, and frequent washing of hands, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergerie said.
The DOH has recorded more than 3,000 cases of COVID-19 each day since Friday, March 7, she said. The surge has caused the outpatient clinics of the Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital to temporarily close, she said.
In Malacañang, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the cases may have increased but we are ready to provide care to the 2 to 3 percent with serious illnesses. He said 65 percent of 13,500 isolation beds remain available, as are 60 percent of 1,900 intensive care unit beds and 75 percent of 6,000 ward beds.
There is need for stepped-up compliance with minimum public health standards, such as wearing face masks, face shields, safe distancing and testing. Contract tracing and isolation must be enhanced at the local level, he said.
As of March 7, the country’s total number of cases stood at 594,412, with 12,516 deaths. But now 3,000 new cases daily have been reported, indicating a surge in new cases. It was feared that this was because of the new variants of the virus, but the DOH has now ascertained that the rise has increased because due to so many people neglecting to maintain the basic practices of face masks and face shields, keeping one’s distance from another person, and frequent hand washing of hands.
Many people may have thought that the pandemic is over with start of vaccination, but the vaccination is only just beginning and it will be months before a substantial percentage of our 110-million population are inoculated to achieve “herd immunity” for the nation.