March 10 ------ The Department of Health (DOH) said Monday that no lockdown will be enforced until it has confirmed cases of "sustained community transmission" in the Philippines. At a press briefing, Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Code Red Sublevel 2 must be raised before any areas are locked down. The DOH raised Code Red Sublevel 1 on Saturday after it confirmed the local transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country. “[Sa] Sublevel 2 of Code Red, dito po ay meron na tayong sustained community transmission. ‘Yun po ang ating trigger para masabi na puwede na tayong… mag-lockdown,” she explained.
A lawmaker earlier proposed a week-long lockdown of Metro Manila to prevent the further spread of the virus. Vergeire said the DOH cannot yet declare that there is community transmission in the Philippines based on the data that they have. The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines jumped to 20 on Monday. “The main determinant ay kapag ang mga kaso mo, hindi na linked to each other. Kaya inaalam natin lahat itong mga kasong ito sa ngayon,” the health official said. “Once na makita natin na meron kahit isa na walang link sa 20 natin na mga kaso, this will trigger the declaration of sustained community transmission.”
According to the World Health Organization, local transmission “indicates locations where the source of infection is within the reporting location,” while community transmission is “evidenced by the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, or by increasing positive tests through routine screening of sentinel samples.”