By Vann Marlo M. Villegas and Gillian M. Cortez, Reporters
LOCAL coronavirus infections have slowed, according to the chief enforcer of the government’s anti-virus efforts.
The curve has flattened, while the country’s healthcare system has improved, national task force chief implementer Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. told an online news briefing on Monday, citing a study by researchers from the University of the Philippines (UP).
The virus reproductive rate stood at 0.94 from four in March, meaning an infected patient can infect one more person, he said.
“This is good news because it means our efforts against the pandemic have borne fruit,” Mr. Galvez said in Filipino.
“But this positive development did not happen overnight,” he said, adding that it was the result of planning by the national and local governments, private sector, medical frontliners and the public.
The Department of Health (DoH) reported 1,383 coronavirus infections on Monday, bringing the total to 238,727.
The death toll rose by 15 to 3,890 while recoveries increased by 230 to 184,906, it said in a bulletin.
There were 49,931 active cases, 88.3% of which were mild, 8.3% did not show symptoms, 1.4% were severe and 2% were critical.
Of the new cases 525 came from Metro Manila, 137 from Laguna, 99 from Batangas, 77 from Negros Occidental and 69 from Cavite.
Eleven of the new deaths came from Metro Manila, two from Western Visayas, and one each from Eastern Visayas and the Calabarzon region, the agency said.
The death rate was at 1.63%, lower than the 3.23% global rate, while the infection rate was at 10.61%, which is higher than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) less than 5% benchmark.
Mr. Galvez said new cases peaked on Aug. 10 with 6,958 and gradually decreased to 2,592 on Sept. 5. There was also a downtrend in Metro Manila, the Calabarzon region and Central Visayas, he said.
There were now 117 licensed laboratories that have conducted 2.7 million tests involving 2.6 million people.
Mr. Galvez urged the public to continue practicing minimum health standards by wearing face masks and shields, washing hands and practicing social distancing to prevent local transmission.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the head of the national task force, on Saturday said the Philippines was seeking to flatten the curve by the end of September.
In epidemiology, the idea of slowing a virus spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment at a time is known as flattening the curve.
The curve researchers are talking about refers to the projected number of people who will get infected over time.
People should not be complacent to sustain the progress, presidential spokesman Harry L. Roque told a separate briefing on Monday.
He traced the curve flattening to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s decision to put Metro Manila back under a two-week modified strict quarantine last month.
Metro Manila, Batangas, Bulacan, Tacloban, and Bacolod are under a general community quarantine, while the rest of the country is under a more lax modified general community quarantine. Iligan City is the sole area in the country that is under a modified enhanced community quarantine.