The Philippines cannot declare that it has won the battle against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) until a vaccine is developed, a public health expert said Wednesday following reports that the country is flattening its curve of infections.
Epidemiologist Dr. John Wong, member of a subgroup of the government’s inter-agency COVID-19 task force, said Filipinos must continue to practice social distancing, proper hand hygiene, and frequent cleaning to combat COVID-19 even after quarantine.
“We still cannot say that we have won the battle against COVID until we have a vaccine,” he said.
“When we relax [the quarantine], we will see another surge of cases, maybe a third wave. Pero to prevent the third wave, we have to observe all the mitigation measures,” he added.
Wong earlier reported that the curve of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines was flattening at a “dramatic” rate, especially in Metro Manila where nearly 70 percent of cases have been recorded.
He noted that the case doubling time nationwide had slowed to 4.6 days from the baseline of 2.5 days.
“When we say that we’re flattening the curve it means that every day we’re getting fewer and fewer cases… It also means that the number of deaths we have every day is getting fewer and fewer,” he explained.
Despite this, he underscored that the coronavirus pandemic will only end once a vaccine has been discovered.
The World Health Organization earlier said various countries are now exploring six candidate vaccines for COVID-19.
“We’re protecting each other by self-quarantining at home. But once [quarantine] is relaxed… we have to remember that we have to protect ourselves, protect our family and protect each other,” Wong said.
The Philippines has recorded 10,004 COVID-19 cases with 1,506 recoveries and 658 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon. — BM, GMA News