The OCTA Research Group warned that the Philippines may experience an avalanche of cases similar to that of India—which currently logs hundreds of thousands of cases in single-day tallies—as the country’s caseload breaches a million.
Dr. Rodrigo Ong said last week that the Philippines was at the same number of cases as the South Asian nation—10,000, in particular—when authorities in India eased restrictions because they were under the impression that they had been able to curb its spread.
From April 12 until the end of last month, the country was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine. This was preceded by enhanced community quarantine, the strictest classification, which was imposed last March 29 in light of the astronomical rise in cases that at one point reached 16,000 cases in a single day.
Experts urged President Rodrigo Duterte to extend MECQ for two more weeks in order to avoid a total collapse of the Philippine healthcare system.
Other medical experts, such as former adviser and health reform advocate, Dr. Tony Leachon, believe that lockdowns are not a permanent solution.
“Even if we maintain the strict lockdowns, the crisis can worsen with the virus variants,” he said, adding that vaccinations were the effective and necessary answer to rising infection rates.
Yet the country’s vaccination progress leaves much to be desired. Leachon pointed out that many of the shots will arrive only by year-end, despite vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.’s confidence that the government will be able to immunize 50 to 70 million people before the year is out.
Currently, only about 1.7 million Filipinos have at least reserved a first dose.
As of writing, the Philippines has some 1.07 million cases with over 984,000 recoveries and more than 17,000 deaths.