Researchers say more and more healthcare workers are also getting infected with Covid-19, further straining the already overburdened healthcare system in the Philippines.
Kasai said the number is highest in new cases recorded over a 24-hour period ending on April 5 among 37 countries in the Western Pacific
UNLESS something is done right and fast, the country’s public health care system could come crashing down because of the continuing rise in Covid-19 cases in almost all areas of the country especially in Metro Manila.
This, as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the Philippines was nearing the “red line” in exhausting its health care capacity to handle the pandemic.
The health agency is especially concerned after the country recorded the highest number of new cases and fatalities in the Western Pacific Region recently.
WHO Regional Director Dr. Takeshi Kasai said they are specifically worried because the surge is really continuing and moving toward the so-called red line when the number of cases exceed or surpass the capacity of health care.
He noted that the current surge could be attributed to various factors including the emergence of “variants of concern” from the SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as lack of public’s full compliance to basic health protocols.
“And we know that once we cross that red line, we put health-care workers in a very difficult situation and once health-care workers start getting the infection, the health-care capacity goes down,” he said in a press briefing.
Highest in Asia Pacific
In its latest update, the Philippines reported 11,028 infection.
Kasai said the number is highest in new cases recorded over a 24-hour period ending on April 5 among 37 countries in the Western Pacific.
The Philippines also has the highest number of fatalities in the region with a cumulative total of 13,245 on that day, followed by China with 4,851.
The Department of Health (DOH) gave an even higher death toll of 14,059 on Wednesday after reporting 242 more had died.
The new infections brought the country’s total caseload to 819,164. The independent OCTA Research Group predicted it would hit 1 million by the end of the month.
Kasai said that while vaccines, albeit limited, were now available, people should keep wearing masks, wash hands frequently and observe physical distancing.
He added they are encouraging countries to improve their surveillance system, including monitoring the virus’ variants of concern, referring to three that were found to be more transmissible and contact tracing.
More sick doctors
In a separate report, ABS-CBN’s Investigative and Research Group recently said that new infections among doctors in particular “quadrupled” last month, while infections among nurses and nursing assistants doubled during the same period.
The broadcast firm said that from February 28 to March 27, 205 doctors became positive for Covid-19 compared to just 49 from the previous period.
Meanwhile, 373 nurses were reported positive during the same period, up from 156 from January 31 to February 27.
For the last two weeks, 654 new Covid-19 infections among health workers were recorded by the Department of Health.
In total, there are now 16,185 health workers who have been infected with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. Of those, 621 are active cases.
If the trend of more doctors and nurses getting sick continues, as well as unabated rise in virus cases, there is indeed a big likelihood that the country’s health care system will come crashing down.
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