DESPITE the increasing number of respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases, the Department of Health (DOH) sought to appease the public on Friday, December 15, 2023, saying there is no cause for concern.
In a press conference, Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said the public should not be worried with the growing numbers of respiratory illnesses cases, as a large majority involves just mild diseases.
"The cases are mild. And we are looking at minimal increases in cases. So the public health warning is the same," said Herbosa.
"I’d like to tell this to the public: We should not be worried," he added.
He noted how even Covid-19 cases are not causes for concern anymore, especially for fully vaccinated individuals.
"According to our infectious diseases experts, the Covid variants of interest are just like the common colds, cough and flu. They are just upper respiratory infections," said the health chief.
He also said that hospitals reported to have full Covid-19 bed capacity are just due to the number of bed allocation.
"When the Covid (pandemic) ended, the hospitals reduced their allocated beds for Covid-19. So when you say it is at full capacity, it is because there are only a few allocated beds," said Herbosa.
Nevertheless, the DOH chief reminded the public, especially members of the vulnerable sector, to employ protective measures.
He said it remains best to prevent getting transmitted with Covid-19 or other viruses causing influenza-like illnesses.
"Our reminder is to employ hygienic practices. Cough etiquette, cover your mouth and nose, wash hands regularly, choose outdoor parties, and, for those with comorbidities, wear your masks always," said Herbosa.
As for medical facilities opting to revive their mask mandates, the official said the hospital administrators have the right to do so.
To note, the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) is again requiring all its medical personnel and visitors to wear face masks inside their facility.
"It’s for your protection that they're telling you to mask up in healthcare facilities," said Herbosa. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)