MANILA – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday clarified that the Philippines is still in its “first major wave of sustained transmission” of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Duque made the remark a day after saying the country is now experiencing a second wave of Covid-19 infection.
During the House health committee hearing, Duque said his previous statement about the second wave of coronavirus was a “casual expression of an epidemiological fact.”
“Because the first wave was in January, but only three cases. In that epidemiological sense, cases that show a rise or a crest and then a decrease constitute a wave, although a small wave,” he said.
“Then we have nothing for February. Then this was followed by a bigger wave which is now what we consider as the first major wave of sustained transmission. Either way, it can be easily construed that where we are today is really the first major wave,” he added.
A number of Cabinet members including Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año among others disputed Duque’s claim.
Medialdea distanced Malacañang from the earlier statement of Duque, saying the country has yet to experience a second wave.
“Alam mo hindi pronouncement ‘yan 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,” Medialdea said.
In a hybrid Senate hearing on Wednesday, Duque disclosed that the Philippines is “actually” on the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak, citing epidemiology experts.
Epidemiology expert John Wong, in a televised press briefing with the Department of Health (DOH), said that the first Covid-19 wave in the country happened in late January when the Philippines recorded its first three confirmed cases.
The second wave of the Covid-19 infection in the country peaked at the end of March, said Wong, who is also part of the government task force on Covid-19 sub-technical working group on data and analytics. (IA/PNA)