MANILA – Contrary to the claims of Health Secretary Frnacisco Duque, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on late Wednesday said the Philippines is not yet on the second wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Wala pa tayo sa second wave. Eh dinadasal natin. Malakas ho siguro tayo magdasal (We’re not on the second wave yet. We’re praying. Perhaps we pray hard),” Medialdea said in a media interview on the sidelines of the launch of the Balik Probinsiya program.
Medialdea’s statement runs counter to the claims of Duque, who in an interview with CNN Phils Wednesday, stressed that the country is “now on second wave, or may be third wave of the coronavirus.”
“Alam mo hindi pronouncement ‘yan (second or third wave) ng Presidente ‘yan or ano. Kailan ba lumabas yung second wave (You know, that is not the President’s pronouncement. When did the second wave start)? That we will have to see,” he said.
Medialdea, meanwhile, said Filipinos should not think that a second wave could take place in the country after quarantine protocols have been eased.
“Wag natin i-expect, wag nating asahan puwede ba (Let’s not expect or anticipate it),” he said.,
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who was present in the same event, admitted that a second wave would take a toll on the country’s Covid-19 response efforts.
“Mahirapan tayo pag nasa second wave (We will have a hard time if we go through a second wave),” he said.
Physician Tony Leachon, adviser to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Covid-19, also disagreed with Duque.
“When you say second wave, it means you have flattened the first one. We’re still on the first wave,” he said.
In a hybrid Senate hearing on Wednesday, Duque told senators that “actually” the Philippines is currently on the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Yung first wave natin nag-umpisa, happened sometime in January noong nagkaroon tayo ng three Chinese nationals from Wuhan (The first wave happened sometime in January when we had three Chinese nationals from Wuhan),” he said, referring to the first batch of infections detected in the country.
He, however, did not clarify when the second wave began.
Last Saturday (May 16), Metro Manila and other parts of the country at risk of Covid-19 infections transitioned to a less stringent modified enhanced community quarantine with more industries allowed to open.
Only the cities of Cebu and Mandaue remain under enhanced community quarantine while the rest of the country are under general community quarantine.
As of May 20, there are 13,221 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection in the country, of which 842 are deaths and 2,932 are recoveries. (ia/PNA)