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Philippines to know in mid-April if it's winning war vs. COVID-19, says DOH

The Philippines will know in mid-April whether it's winning the war against COVID, the Department of Health said on Wednesday.

“Masyado pa pong maaga para masagot ang tanong na ito with hard data. Ang incubation period po kasi ng COVID-19 ay 14 days,” Dr. Beverly Ho said at a news briefing.

Ho explained that Filipinos who contracted COVID-19 before March 15 may not have manifested symptoms until March 29 and only sought medical attention and testing after that date.

“Ayon po sa mga experts… mid-April pa talaga natin malalaman kung nagkaroon ng epekto ang ECQ, nag-peak or nag-slow down ba ang mga kaso, at iba pang mahahalagang impormasyon,” she added.

Ho said the extension of the community quarantine in Luzon until April 30 gave the country enough time to slow down the transmission and the spread of the virus and to increase its healthcare capacity.

She explained that improving the healthcare system involves procuring personal protective equipment, establishing massive quarantine facilities, and organizing staffing schedules to avoid overcrowding hospitals.

"Kapag sabay po natin itong na-achieve, we will be able to beat this pandemic," Ho said.

Experts from the University of the Philippines earlier said that an extension of the quarantine would flatten the country’s COVID-19 curve.

"Our sciences know you cannot release it yet because you will lose the gains... Uulit lang, parang dinelay lang 'yong pag-happen noong epidemic," UP Executive Vice President Teodoro Herbosa Jr. said.

The DOH confirmed 106 COVID-19 infections on Wednesday for a total of 3,870 cases with 182 deaths and 96 recoveries.

Ho said the DOH has over 10,000 hard copies of case information forms that still need to be encoded.

She added that the department is looking to clear the backlog by the end of the week so it could transfer to a computerized system.

“Starting this week, all are required to submit the CIF forms and lab results online. This will save our [Epidemiology Bureau] time and effort to consolidate the results,” Ho said.

“Ginagawan natin ito ng paraan ngayon para by Monday, we would all have this data encoded and we can see a more accurate picture of our cases.”-NB, GMA News