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What Can We Do for the Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreaks?

What Can We Do for the Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreaks?

What can we do for the prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks?

The prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks is extremely important when it comes to controlling the spread of the virus. To lower the risk and extent of future outbreaks, we need to take preventive measures.

And to find out what steps could be taken to prevent an outbreak, we need to look back at the circumstances that started the outbreak in Metro Manila.

Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreaks: A Timeline of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Metro Manila

The first-ever confirmed cases of COVID-19 were from Chinese nationals who were vacationing in the country. Patient 1 was a 39-year-old female with symptoms of cough and sore throat. She was admitted to San Lazaro Hospital on January 25, 2020, and had tested positive for COVID-19 5 days later. Patient 2 was a 44-year-old male, and had symptoms of fever, cough, and chills. Later, he was also admitted to San Lazaro Hospital, and was tested for the virus. The results came out on January 31, and showed that he too tested positive. On February 1, the patient died from cardiac arrest. Patient 2 was confirmed as the first COVID-19 related death outside of China.

Based on the couple’s travel history, it was found that the couple had resided in Wuhan, China, which was the epicenter of the disease, before they went to the Philippines. Patient 2 had reportedly been in contact with someone in Wuhan who showed symptoms, and the patient himself had experienced symptoms even before going to the Philippines.

While Patient 1 and 2 have not been confirmed as the ones who brought the virus to the Philippines, the outbreak could most have likely been brought by someone who was traveling and had been in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

The third case of COVID-19 in the country was a 60-year-old Chinese female in Cebu. She arrived at the Mactan Airport from Wuhan, via Hong Kong, on January 20. On February 5, she had tested positive for the virus.

How to Use Rapid Test Kit for COVID-19

The Prayer Room in Barangay Greenhills

On March 6, Patient 4 and 5 were confirmed in Metro Manila. Patient 4 was a 48-year-old Filipino male who had recently traveled to Japan. Patient 5 was a 62-year-old Filipino male in San Juan. He was the first person in the country who had tested positive without a history of foreign travel.

Patient 5 was said to have frequented a prayer hall in San Juan, and it is suspected that he could have been infected there.

On March 7, the first recorded local transmission of COVID-19 was confirmed after Patient 5 infected his wife, who became Patient 6. Two days later, four more cases were confirmed, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 10.

On March 12, a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) was declared in Metro Manila. At this point, there were 35 confirmed cases, with 5 deaths. Patients 5 and 6 were among those who passed away.

No Signs of Slowing Down

As the weeks went by, the number of cases in the country slowly increased.

As of September 13, 2020, there are over 261,000 cases, with 49,277 active cases.

According to a projection by the Octa Research Group, the number of cases in the country is expected to hit 375,000 by the end of September 2020.

This is an alarmingly high number of cases, and it would be very difficult for our health sector to handle all these cases of COVID-19. This is why we need to take action immediately to slow down and prevent future cases of COVID-19.

Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreaks: What Can We Learn from the Metro Manila Outbreak?

One of the biggest contributors to the outbreak is the population density of Metro Manila. Having a large number of people located in such a small area greatly increases the risk of transmission.

Additionally, COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease, and even in places with smaller populations, a large number of people have been infected.

Another factor is the lack of mass testing available in the country. Mass testing can help find people who have tested positive for the virus, and isolate them in order to prevent them from infecting the rest of the population. Without mass testing, infected people may already be spreading the virus without even knowing it.

All of these factors have contributed to the evergrowing number of cases in the country.

What Can Be Done for the Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreaks?

Here are some things you can do to help lower transmission and help in the prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks:

  • As much as possible, stay at home. Staying home minimizes the risk of getting infected or infecting others.
  • Avoid gatherings and visits to and from people who do not live in your house. This includes extended family and close friends.
  • As part of the prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks, wear a mask. If you need to go outside, wear a mask, and practice social distancing.
  • Be careful where you eat. At work, avoid sharing meals with colleagues. Avoid dining inside restaurants. If eating at work, it is best to eat in your own workspace, at least 6 feet away from another person, or outdoors. Remember that talking may transmit droplets and when you remove your mask to eat, you are not protected.
  • Wash your hands frequently to kill the virus and to prevent it from spreading. You may also disinfect with 70% alcohol.
  • Keep surfaces clean and disinfected. The virus can live on surfaces for an extended time, and you can get infected this way.
  • If you experience any symptoms, isolate yourself. Furthermore, even if you have not yet been tested positive, assume that you have the virus and isolate yourself.
  • Get tested if you have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus or displays COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If you are feeling sick, isolate yourself at home. Stay in a separate room if possible and wear a medical mask around other people. Seek evaluation and get tested.

By following these simple tips, we can do our part in the prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Find more updates and information on COVID-19 here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

First COVID-19 infections in the Philippines: a case report, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7154063/, Accessed June 23 2020

Philippines tops COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/philippines-tops-covid-19-cases-in-southeast-asia/1805656, Accessed June 23 2020

IN CHARTS: COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/264413-charts-coronavirus-covid-19-cases-philippines, Accessed June 23 2020

TIMELINE: How the Philippines is handling COVID-19, https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/4/21/interactive-timeline-PH-handling-COVID-19.html, Accessed June 23 2020

RESEARCH AND BREAKTHROUGHS – University of the Philippines, https://www.up.edu.ph/category/research-and-breakthroughs/, Accessed June 23 2020

100 days of COVID-19 in the Philippines: How WHO supported the Philippine response, https://www.who.int/philippines/news/feature-stories/detail/100-days-of-covid-19-in-the-philippines-how-who-supported-the-philippine-response, Accessed June 23 2020

San Juan temporarily closes prayer hall frequented by coronavirus patient, https://www.rappler.com/nation/253609-san-juan-temporarily-closes-prayer-hall-frequented-coronavirus-case, Accessed June 23 2020

Timeline: Covid-19 in the Philippines – SUNSTAR, https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1856059/Manila/Local-News/Timeline-Covid-19-in-the-Philippines, Accessed June 23 2020

COVID-19 FORECASTS IN THE PHILIPPINES: NCR and CEBU as of June 8, 2020 – University of the Philippines, https://www.up.edu.ph/covid-19-forecasts-in-the-philippines-ncr-and-cebu-as-of-june-8-2020/, Accessed June 22 2020

PH coronavirus cases may reach 375,000 by September 30 – experts, https://www.rappler.com/nation/experts-estimate-coronavirus-cases-philippines-september-2020, Accessed June 15 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Jun 15
Medically reviewed by Erika Joanna Villanueva Caperonce, M.D.
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