UCA News

Philippines

Philippine 'second wave' statement sparks uproar

Health Department chief under fire for declaring new stage despite failure to flatten Covid-19 curve

Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Philippine 'second wave' statement sparks uproar

A security guard watches a shopper exit a disinfection channel at a Manila shopping mall. The Philippines’ health minister has sparked controversy by claiming the country is experiencing its second Covid-19 wave. (Photo: Ted Aljibe/AFP)

Share this article :
The Philippines’ health minister has been accused of sowing public alarm and confusion after declaring the country was experiencing a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Most people thought the country was still experiencing a first wave because Covid-19 infections were continuing to rise amid a shortage of testing kits in the country.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said on May 20 that the first wave of the pandemic occurred from January to February when health experts quarantined three Chinese nationals who tested positive for the virus.

The Health Department recorded the first case when an asymptomatic Chinese national from Wuhan was diagnosed in a Manila hospital after experiencing mild coughs. Her partner died a month later due to complications caused by the coronavirus.

Duque’s comments about a second wave were criticized by health experts who said the pandemic infection curve had yet to be flattened.

“The first wave [of the virus] came when we had the first lockdown. We have not yet flattened that curve. A second wave happens after that curve is flattened,” said Dr. Anthony Leachon, an adviser to the Inter-Agency Task Force against Covid-19.

Opposition lawmaker Carlos Zarate also criticized Duque’s statement, accusing him and the government of “playing tricks” with the people.

“Is this administration taking us for a ride? Is a second wave coming or is it true we are already on the second wave?” the lawmaker asked in an interview.

He told the government to stop concealing the true situation from people when it is the masses who are struggling in the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Filipino Jesuits were mourning the death of their former superior general Adolfo Nicolas, who died on May 20 as reported by UCA News.

Father Nicolas served in the Philippines for 10 years after being appointed director of the East Asian Pastoral Institute at Ateneo de Manila University.

Former Philippine Jesuit provincial Father Danny Huang described him as a “wise guide, humble servant, inspiring witness of the freedom and joy of the Gospel, a beloved brother and friend.”

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM

Publisher

Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."