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DTI chief: Secret parties possible cause of COVID-19 cases surge

TRADE Secretary Ramon Lopez has rebutted the claims that the reopening of economic activities led to a surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases, but “secret parties” or private meetups might be a possible cause of the rising number of infection.

In a radio interview Monday, Lopez said many have attempted to have their private reunions with friends and relatives wherein minimum public health standards, such as wearing of face masks and physical distancing, are no longer observed.

Ang maraming nangyari talaga ngayon, maraming nag-attempt na magkita-kita ulit… Parang may ‘secret parties’. Dito ‘yung medyo bumaba ang compliance rate (What happened is a lot of people attempted to meet again… There have been ‘secret parties’. This is where the compliance with health protocols declined),” he said.

Although there are no available data yet to prove that private gatherings caused the surge in Covid-19 cases, Lopez said one can observe and attest that many private meetups and parties have taken place.

He recalled that since the gradual reopening of business establishments and economic activities in August of last year, daily Covid-19 cases were declining.

The trade chief added the compliance rate of establishments including restaurants and fast-food chains is also high.

Makati City Pabakuna

Last Thursday, Lopez said establishments have over 95-percent compliance rate to health protocols.

Compliance rate for proper wearing of face masks ranges between 92 and 100 percent; between 43 and 100 percent for proper wearing of face shield; between 56 and 100 percent for not talking and eating in public transportation and confined areas; between 75 and 100 percent for adequate ventilation; between 88 and 100 percent for proper disinfection; and between 88 and 100 percent for appropriate physical distancing.

So it is not the dine-in restaurants (that caused the surge) but (the) increase in other activities and gatherings like reunions, meetups and low compliance (of health protocols) in communities,” Lopez told reporters in a Viber message.

In the Resolution 104 of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, it now prohibits dine-in services on restaurants and fast-food chains, except for alfresco dining and take-out services.

This will be implemented along with new restrictions in areas under general community quarantine, which include Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal. Philippine News Agency