HEALTH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said the curve for coronavirus infections in the country has been “bent” as the doubling time for cases is now longer.

Mr. Duque, in a social media post Wednesday afternoon after saying in a morning briefing that the country has “successfully flattened the curve,” explained that the three-day case doubling time in April has been improved to eight days as of July 15.

“This means we bent the curve in April after the March ECQ (enhanced community quarantine, which was a strict lockdown) but we are seeing an increase in cases due to the expanded testing capacity and community transmission as we allow movement of people,” he said on twitter.

In another statement read by Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire, Mr. Duque said the strict lockdown in March “served its purpose” as it provided “a window of opportunity to improve and to increase ramp up our health systems capacity.”

The Department of Health reported 1,394 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, bringing the total to 58,850.

Recoveries increased by 517 to 20,967 while the death toll rose by 11 to 1,614.

There are 36,360 active cases in the country.

Meanwhile, Food and Drug Administration Director General Rolando Enrique D. Domingo announced that the country will start with its trial for the influenza drug Avigan, different from the World Health Organization’s solidarity trial.

He said the drug is used in mild to moderate cases.

Japan said in April that it would send the Avigan to 38 countries, including the Philippines, after it conducted clinical trials with other countries.

Mr. Domingo also said that there are 163 candidate vaccines worldwide, with 140 in pre-clinical studies while 23 are undergoing clinical trials. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas