Too early to tell if virus lockdown effective – Philippine minister

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Francisco Duque

THE Philippines’ Health Minister on Monday said it was too early to assess if a month-long lockdown affecting more than half of the country’s population would need to be extended to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

As the lockdown on the main island of Luzon entered its third week, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the current number of reported cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, did not reflect the real status of the outbreak in the country.

“The decision to lift or extend the lockdown will depend on the real status of Covid-19 in the Philippines, and the basis of that will be the testing,’’ he told DZBB radio station.

Duque said that government laboratories capable of processing specimens still had a backlog in testing.

“When that backlog becomes zero, then we will know the real-time Covid-19 status in the Philippines,’’ Duque noted.

On Sunday, the Department of Health reported 343 new confirmed infections, the biggest rise in a single day, bringing the country’s total to 1,418.

Three new deaths were also reported, pushing the death toll to 71, while 42 patients have so far recovered.

The month-long lockdown in Luzon, where the capital Manila is located, took effect on March 16, and was supposed to be lifted on April 14.

“It’s too early to assess, remember that in Wuhan, China, they started the lockdown on Jan. 23 and in fact, they are still restricted up to now. They have not completely lifted the lockdown after two months,’’ Duque said. (dpa/NAN)

– Mar. 30, 2020 @ 10:09 GMT |

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