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DOH weighs quarantine period extension

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The Department of Health (DOH) is weighing if the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine will be lifted by April 14.

"Maaga pa [para ma-assess]. Tandaan po natin ang China, 'yung kanilang Wuhan ay nag-umpisa ng kanilang lockdown January 23 and, in fact, restricted pa rin. Ibig sabihin hindi pa rin completely lifted ang lockdown nila after two months," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

"Kahit na single digit na lang ang kanilang reported new cases ay hindi pa rin po sila nag-completely lift ng lockdown," he added.

He noted the number of COVID-19 cases in China peaked three weeks after it implemented community-wide quarantine protocols.

President Rodrigo Duterte said the enhanced community quarantine period over Luzon would last until April 14.

As of Monday morning, the Philippines recorded 1,418 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 71 deaths and 42 recoveries.

There are currently 874 persons under investigation and 6,321 persons under monitoring.

Meanwhile, Duque said the COVID-19 fatality rate in the country has decreased from 8% to 5%.

He, however, noted that the change is still due to rising number of confirmed cases vis-a-vis the reported deaths.

"Lumiliit 'yung ratio of death over the number of [confirmed] cases," Duque said.

"Ang desisyon para itigil na itong lockdown o ipagpatuloy ay nakasalalay sa tamang status ng COVID-19 sa Pilipinas na ang testing ang cornerstone sa pagbibigay basehan," he added.

He also reiterated that as the backlog on COVID-19 tests is completed in the coming days, more reflective figures on the number of new cases will surface.

"Kung ma-zero na natin ang backlog saka lang natin malalaman 'yung real-time COVID-19 status ng Pilipinas," he said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine committed to finish all its backlogs as the month ends.

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