Press Release

Palace assures whole-of-gov’t strategy continues coupled with localized responses to address COVID-19 surge

In light of the recent surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country and the presence of new coronavirus variants, the Palace assured that the national government continues to implement intensified responses to the COVID-19 pandemic using the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) strategy, including localized responses from local government units (LGUs).

Despite the current increase in the number of cases being reported daily in the past few days, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr said that the country’s overall critical care capacity is not yet compromised.

“Sa ngayon po ay hindi pa naman tayo nasa delikadong healthcare utilization rate, 60-65 percent pa po ang ating ICU capacity at pati po yung ating mga ICU wards at saka mga isolation wards,” said Secretary Roque in a press briefing held in Dumaguete City on March 11, 2021.

In terms of LGU responses, the Palace official said that areas in Metro Manila that are in critical and high-risk have already implemented their own localized actions to contain infections in their localities. These localized responses include the implementation of curfew hours from 10PM to 5AM in Malabon and San Juan; 24-hour curfew for minors and regular cleaning and disinfection of public markets, groceries/supermarkets every Monday in Navotas; and disinfection of houses, workplaces and common areas like escalators and elevators every 8AM and 8PM in Makati.

Sec. Roque said that other cities in Metro Manila opted to implement localized lockdowns like in Pasay, which declared an intensified community quarantine in its affected communities.

The concurrent Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) spokesperson, in the same briefing pointed out that the contact tracing strategy of the government can still be further improved. “I would say that an area for tremendous improvement will be the tracing, the use of the tracing app, at saka yung pagtaas ng mga numero ng nate-trace dapat masunod po yung sinasabi ni Mayor Magalong na dapat mga at least 32 for every positive case,” said Roque.

The Cabinet official also underscored that while a whole-of-nation approach is being used to contain the situation, where various government agencies and LGUs work hand-in-hand to balance priorities, there is a need to continuously remind the public to strictly follow the minimum public health standards.

“We definitely have to convince our people to be more strict in following yung minimum health standards kase yan naman ang dahilan kaya tumataas ang mga bilang, outside of the new variants,” said Roque.

Roque reiterated that strict enforcement of policies should be implemented to ensure that the minimum health standards are being followed. “Kung kinakailangang gumamit muli ng marami pang pulis at sundalo para dito gagawin po natin yan dahil ang isa talagang medyo maluwag ang pagsunod ng ating mga kababayan ay yung pagtipon-tipon, yung kawalan ng social distancing,” Roque said.

On another matter, India’s Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran confirmed that the term sheet agreement signed by the Philippine government in January 2021 with the Serum Institute of India is for the supply of 30 million doses of the Novavax vaccine.

Meanwhile, Dr. Paolo Borja from the Asian Hospital and Medical Center who has been vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine encouraged all healthcare workers to get vaccinated. Dr. Borja said that regardless of the brand, it is important to strengthen the vaccination program for COVID-19, underscoring that all available vaccines have been proven to be relatively safe and backed up by clinical trials to be protective against severe forms of the disease.

Also in the same press briefing, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cybercrime Division Chief Victor Lorenzo addressed the hacking of the website of the national government. Lorenzo said that the NBI is now in close coordination with the Department of Information and Communications Technology and expressed confidence that the hackers can be tracked down and identified. ### OPS-PCOO