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DOH: No second wave of COVID-19 yet despite increase in cases

The second wave of COVID-19 pandemic is yet to hit the Philippines despite the increase in the number of cases in the country, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday.

Vergeire made the declaration after COVID-19 cases breached 80,000 as of July 26, Sunday, and after four days straight of more than 2,000 reported cases daily. 

“As to the second wave, nag-aaral tayo, pero wala pa tayong naide-declare na ganito, hindi pa rin natin nakikita na meron tayong ganyan,” Vergeire said.

“We will be giving information as to these instances based on the epidemiological analysis and numbers that we have. We cannot answer that [question if we are on second wave] now because it is being studied,” she added.

Vergeire also said that the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases is expected, considering that quarantine protocols have been eased since June 1 to allow people to physically report back to work and the expanded testing.

“Nakikita natin na iyong expanded testing has been contributing a lot kasi tini-test na natin pati asymptomatic, at siyempre expected iyong increase in cases since we have eased restrictions, at mataas ang mobility ng tao,” she said.

“Kaya ang implication nito, we have to ready our health care system kasi mas maraming mangangailangan ng health care services,” she added.

Dr. Ranjit Rye of the UP-OCTA Research team earlier said that the turnaround time for the release of COVID-19 test results should be decreased significantly to reduce the number of cases in the country.

“Ang weakest link ng ating strategy has always been contact tracing. While [our] testing is ramping up, we have to improve iyong turnaround time ng test results,” Rye told GMA News Online in a phone interview Friday.

“Malaking bagay ‘yan kasi if we don’t have the test results, wala kang actionable data for contact tracing," Rye added.

On Sunday, only 66 out of the 90 laboratories reported COVID-19 results to DOH.

Rye also said that isolation centers should be increased, considering that around 70 percent of COVID-19 cases in the country are asymptomatic or mild cases that need to be confined in isolation centers.

Almost two weeks ago, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also claimed success in flattening the curve amid the COVID-19 pandemic but later took his word back by admitting that the number of cases is rising.—AOL, GMA News