Lockdown saves PH from large-scale community outbreak, WHO says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 8) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said the country has made the right decision to implement a lockdown in the whole of Luzon as it prevented a large-scale community outbreak.

“Philippines, because of the lockdown, we are not experiencing so-called large-scale community outbreak," said WHO Western Pacific Regional Director Dr. Takeshi Kasai in an interview with CNN Philippines’ Not Politics As Usual. "What's really important is to try to stay in this stage as much as possible, and if possible, to suppress.”

Kasai said people’s full participation and public health interventions are necessary to make the lockdown halt the spread of the deadly virus.

“Even it is lockdown, it’s important for everyone to stay home, protect yourselves, and your family," he said. "Second thing is even under the lockdown, infections might continue, so it’s very important to organize public health intervention such as tracing and identifying the contact."

When asked if the lockdown must be extended beyond the end of the month, Kasai suggested that new interventions must be considered to flatten the curve.

“It is important to be vigilant and make cautious, thorough decision," he said. "When you extend the lockdown, it’s not continuing the same level of interventions, there are some options to peel one by one.”

The enhanced community quarantine in Luzon was extended until April 30 to further contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.

The country now has 3,870 cases of COVID-19, with 182 deaths, and 96 recoveries.

Meanwhile, mass testing is ongoing for the target patients.

COVID-19 National Task Force spokesperson Restituto Padilla said Wednesday that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) is expected to process 100,000 COVID-19 tests a day in the next three months.

He added that the RITM is also preparing to distribute 900,000 test kits in all accredited test facilities in the country.