MANILA, Philippines — “We thank God for the decline” in COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte said in his taped address that aired late Monday night.
He cited the drop in the reproduction number of COVID-19 to 0.52, which was posted on Twitter by Dr. Guido David of OCTA Research last Saturday.
The 0.52 reproduction number ‚ also written as R0 and pronounced “r-naught” — is below the 1.00 deemed ideal by the World Health Organization, Duterte said.
This, he added, suggests that the epidemic was starting to be put under control after the country recorded an extreme surge in new cases last August and September caused by the Delta variant.
“Regarding overcoming the virus, our recent three-day tally of new COVID-19 cases as of October 23 went down to 5,000. Then from 5,000, it is even going down to 4,000. This is quite low,” Duterte said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino.
“So maybe we are doing okay by the grace of God. We always ask for God’s mercy because we would be in a pitiful state if God leaves us,” he added.
He also noted the lower positivity rate — or the number of COVID-19 tests that would turn positive compared to the total number of tests done on a particular day.
As of Monday, only 9.0 percent of the 47,731 COVID-19 tests done since Oct. 23 came out positive.
Duterte then advised the public to continue observing health protocols and follow the law.
“We thank God for the decline. And let’s continue to follow the government. Just follow it. I always refer to Davao because that’s where I come from and I was mayor there for a long time — 22 years. What I always ask there whenever I would come across some argument is ‘what’s the law?’ [And someone would say, ] ‘Sir, this is the law.’ If that’s the law, follow it. Period,” he said.
“If you don’t want to follow, do you want me to force you to follow it? Because that is not good, that is really not ideal, because we would skip all the storytelling,” he added.
Despite the reported drop in COVID-19 cases, health experts continued to warn the public against being too relaxed, as the threat of the pandemic was still present.
Earlier, several government officials — among them, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar — warned people not to be too complacent, especially as massive crowding was observed in various public areas, especially the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach.
On Sunday, there were reports that authorities had recorded over 4,000 individuals there — forcing them to temporarily close it down.
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