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Duque: 'Premature' to say if COVID-19 cases in Philippines already peaked

The Department of Health (DOH) cannot ascertain yet if the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the Philippines has already peaked, according to Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday.

"Premature. Siguro we must wait for another four to five days para maka-establish tayo talaga ng malinaw na trend," Duque said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

"Kailangan natin ng sufficient epidemiological data ng COVID-19. Kasi nga, 'di ba, nagkaroon tayo ng malaking kakulangan sa testing so hindi pa ganoon kalinaw yung tunay na litrato ng COVID-19 sa Pilipinas."

Secretary Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the national action policy against COVID-19, recently noted that the number of new cases recorded in the country has dipped from 538 on March 31 to 322 on April 2.

The respective numbers of new cases from April 3 to 5 have not surpassed the said count on March 31.

Duque said testing capacities in the country are continuously being strengthened to generate data that is more reflective of the situation on the ground. He, however, added that there are also limiting factors to be taken into account.

"Marami kasing limitations na beyond us, like 'yung global supply chain ng testing kits," he said.

Duque deferred making any comments on whether he favors the extension of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon as he underscored that the inter-agency body will make that collegial decision.

Nonetheless, he mentioned on Sunday that measures being undertaken against COVID-19 should be maintained.

“Hindi puwedeng magpaluwag tayo, ganu'n din sa Pilipinas. Hindi puwedeng luwagan ang mga hakbang na ating nilatag, isinasagawa,” Duque said.

The enhanced community quarantine period is set to expire at 12 a.m. on April 13.

Some lawmakers and experts in the academe are in favor of its extension to truly flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases.

As of Sunday afternoon, the Philippines has 3,246 cases of COVID-19 infections, with 153 deaths and 64 recoveries. --KBK, GMA News