The rising number of new COVID-19 cases being reported in the past days and weeks is still within the projections of FASSSTER and is expected due to the nature of the Delta variant, said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr in a press briefing today, September 7, 2021.
The Palace official noted that while the high case counts are alarming, the number of COVID-19 cases would have been higher had the government not implemented a two-week Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) followed by two weeks of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
Citing FASSSTER projections, Secretary Roque said, “Kung hindi po tayo nag-impose ng dalawang linggong ECQ, dalawang linggong MECQ, we would have hit 200,000 cases by September 9… yan po yung sinasabi natin na we are on track with the FASSSTER Projection.”
Secretary Roque further clarified that it was not projected that cases will go down because of the implementation of ECQ. “Ang prinoject lang natin mame-maintain natin anywhere between 20,000-37,500 ang mga kaso if we impose two weeks of ECQ, two weeks of MECQ na ginawa po natin,” said Sec Roque.
Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau Director Dr. Alethea De Guzman concurred that COVID-19 cases may still continue to rise because of the nature of the Delta variant, however she emphasized that what is important to consider is that while case numbers are increasing, the proportion of those getting the severe and critical forms of the disease is not increasing.
Dr. De Guzman added that based on FASSSTER Projections, case numbers may be reduced even at lower community quarantine levels if adherence to the minimum public health standards is improved, health systems capacity is improved, specifically by shortening the interval from case detection to isolation to just five days, and increasing vaccination coverage.
On another matter, Sec. Roque announced a change in the recently approved classifications, which escalated the province of Ilocos Norte to MECQ from its previously announced General Community Quarantine classification.
In the same press briefing, the Palace spokesperson assured that assistance to families who may be affected by Typhoon Jolina are already prepositioned and that evacuation centers are already on stand-by for possible evacuation of affected families. Roque reminded those who may possibly evacuate to follow health protocols when going to evacuation centers.
Roque also commented on the July 2021 Labor Force Survey which saw a decline in the unemployment rate underscoring this as a result of the gradual reopening of the economy.
“We are aiming for total health po, hindi naman pupwede na habang napapababa ang kaso ng COVID-19 eh dumadami naman yung hanay ng walang trabaho at hanay ng nagugutom. So uulitin ko lang po, mas matinding nakakahawa itong si Delta variant pero habang tayo po ay may sapat na kakayahan para gamutin ang seryosong nagkakasakit ay susubukan po nating buksan pa rin ang ating ekonomiya. At itong change in strategy to localize ay kabahagi na po ito ng ating stratehiya para mapanatiling bukas hanggang maaari ang ekonomiya nang mabawasan ang hanay ng nagugutom,” said Roque.
Meanwhile, Department of Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Emmanuel Caintic reported about the soft launch of VaxCertPh yesterday, September 6, and clarified that the launch is currently being piloted for overseas Filipino workers who will be departing for deployment abroad.
Usec Caintic also explained that the VaxCertPH is a digital vaccine certificate that represents an individual’s vaccination status and is not meant to be an immunization passport, not a proof of identification, and not to replace the Bureau of Quarantine-issued International Certificate of Vaccination or the Yellow Card.
Also in the same press briefing, Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) General Manager Ana Marie Rafael assured that she will not allow Beneco to be used for election purposes. Atty Rafael also appealed to other electric cooperatives in the country to not allow personalities to use them for election purposes. ### OPS