The Department of Health (DOH) has warned about the high likelihood of a COVID-19 community transmission happening very soon, CNN Philippines reports. If this happens, it may necessitate higher Code Red level and the lockdown of certain areas.
Said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, "What we have now is localized transmission in the areas we have earlier mentioned. But the situation can very quickly progress into a community transmission, which means, there could be a larger area of affected communities.
Community transmission happens when a person gets infected with the virus by someone who has not been to a place where the outbreak is present, as in the case of the 5th confirmed patient in the Philippines who supposedly caught the virus from frequenting a mosque in the city of San Juan in Metro Manila.
"I have said time and again that it's going to be a very real occurrence over the very short term," the Secretary added today, March 11, 2020, during the House Committee on Health hearing.
To prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, officials of the Department of Education have begun implementing measures to observe social distancing, including the postponement of exams and asking the students to fulfill other school requirements, like assignments, from home.
Currently, the Philippines is on a Code Red, Sublevel 1 alert, but if cases of community transmission continues to increase, Secretary Duque said they may up the alert level and consider a lockdown.
"When evidence points to community transmission, we will resort first to a localized lockdown, rather than the whole NCR locking down. We have to be careful on the implications of imposing a metro-wide lockdown," he said.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
In a press briefing on Monday, March 9, Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that for a lockdown of certain areas to be considered, "The main determinant ay kapag ang mga kaso mo, hindi na linked to each other.
"Once na makita natin na meron kahit isa na walang link sa 20 natin na mga kaso, this will trigger the declaration of sustained community transmission."
As of today, the Philippines has 49 confirmed cases of the COVID-19.