The Philippines' battle with coronavirus disease 2019 may drag on for months if proper interventions would not be implemented, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday, citing studies by experts.
"Ang ating mga estimation galing po 'yan sa ating mga scientist, sa mga mathematician. Nagkaroon po tayo ng tatlong modelling estimates na ginawa kung saan ang timeline ranged from hanggang third quarter of the year and maybe worst case scenario base sa kanilang pag-aaral ay next year po ng January. But these are all estimations," Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing.
"Ito'y mangyayari kung wala tayong gagawing intervention," she added.
In a separate briefing, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the COVID-19 situation in the country could have been worse if President Rodrigo Duterte did not place Luzon under enhanced community quarantine in March.
“Take a look at the other countries, iyong mas mayaman sa atin, tingnan ninyo ang mga numero nila – iyon ang lagi naming binabalikan,” he said.
“Kung hindi agad nag-declare ng enhanced community quarantine si Pangulong Duterte when he did, when there were people who were even saying na OA, you can only imagine how overstretch na siguro tayo kung hindi agad tayo nag-declare ng ECQ.”
Vergeire said that in the absence of a vaccine against COVID-19, the Philippines uses non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing and frequent hand-washing to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
She said that it could take about six to 18 months before a vaccine against the new strain of coronavirus can be developed and distributed to the public.
As of April 12, the Philippines recorded a total of 4,648 cases COVID-19, with 297 deaths and 197 recoveries.
Based on the DOH's online tracker, a total of 33,814 persons have undergone COVID-19 tests nationwide.
The DOH will procure test kits good for the next three months, according to Vergeire. It has earlier projected that it will be able to conduct 3,000 COVID-19 tests per day starting April 14. The capacity to test is expected to reach 8,000 to 10,000 daily by the end of the month.
An enhanced community quarantine will be implemented over Luzon and other affected areas until April 30. --with Virgil Lopez/KBK, GMA News