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.
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.
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.
Now Over 30,000 Cases, with No Signs of Slowing Down
As the weeks went by, the number of cases in the country slowly increased. As of publication, there are more than 30, 000 confirmed cases in the Philippines, and the number does not seem to be slowing down.
According to a forecast from the University of the Philippines, the number of cases may increase to 40,000 by the end of June, with 1,850 deaths.
This is an alarmingly high number of cases, and it would be very difficult for our health sector to handle 40,000 cases of COVID-19. This is why we need to take action immediately to slow down and prevent future cases of COVID-19.
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 the possibility of future outbreaks:
- As much as possible, stay at home. Staying home minimizes the risk of getting infected. Conversely, if you are the one who is infected, you can prevent spreading the virus by staying at home.
- If you need to go outside, wear a mask, and practice social distancing.
- Wash your hands frequently to kill the virus and to prevent it from spreading.
- 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. This helps prevent the virus from spreading and lowers the possibility that you may infect someone else.
- Get tested if you have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. This would help identify if you have been infected and might need to isolate yourself.
By following these simple tips, we can do our part in making sure that the outbreak does not get any worse.
Find more updates and information on COVID-19 here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.