News Release

Country gaining upper hand in COVID-19 fight, says health chief

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III listens as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on May 10, 2021. JOEY DALUMPINES/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The country is gaining momentum in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the Philippines is put at low risk with the drop in the two-week growth rate of COVID-19 infections last week, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Monday.

Reporting to President Rodrigo Duterte during a meeting in Davao City, Duque said the country has recorded a -22 percent two-week growth rate at 6.85 of the average daily attack rate per 100,000 population.

The National Capital Region (NCR) is at moderate risk with a -39 percent in two-week growth rate in the average daily attack rate per 100,000 population, dropping to 19.02 from a high of 30.98, he noted.

Despite the improving overall condition, Duque said there is no room for complacency because there are areas with positive two-week growth rates, which include Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and Caraga.

Also, there are five regions with high average daily attack rate namely NCR, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Cagayan Valley Region, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon.

COVID-19 cases have been decreasing in the NCR, Duque said. He reported that from 48 percent, total cases from the NCR dropped to 31 percent.

The healthcare utilization rate nationwide is also improving, according to the health chief. He reported that from 4.7 percentage points recorded last week, the healthcare utilization rate dropped to 7 percentage points from a peak reported last April 13.

“Tingnan po natin ‘yong isolation beds. Noong nag-peak po tayo, 51 percent po ang gamit ng ating mga isolation beds,” Duque told the President.

“Ngayon, nasa 43 percent. So bumaba po sa makatuwid ng walong porsyento. At ang ating COVID-19 ward beds, from a peak of 57 percent utilization rate, bumaba po ito to 49 percent. So ganoon din po bumaba ng walong porsyento.

Highlighting the importance of ICU beds, Duque said that from a 68 percent peak utilization rate, the country has recorded 61 percent decline, improving by 7 percent points. On the use of mechanical ventilators, it dropped to 40 percent from 48 percent.

The healthcare utilization rate in the NCR has also seen a decline, dropping 17 percent compared with the peak day estimate, the health secretary said.

“At sa kabila nito, nananatiling nasa critical at high risk ang ICU utilization rate ng ilang lokalidad sa NCR. Kaya naman po aming hinihikayat ang mga NCR hospitals sa tulong ng One COVID Referral Center na panatilihin ang kasalukuyang healthcare capacities lalo na po ang ICU capacities upang manatili tayong handa sa mga surge na maaaring mangyari muli,” he noted.

Duque also provided an update on the ongoing vaccine rollout. He said that the country received 1.5 million doses from China’s Sinovac, two million doses of AstraZeneca jab from the COVAX facility, and 15,000 doses from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute.

With the recent deliveries, the country now has a total of 7.5 million vaccine doses. PND