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DOH belies ‘unfounded rumors’ of Covid surge before polls

The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday categorically denied “unfounded rumors” that it will report a coronavirus surge days before the May 9 elections and pin the blame on campaign rallies.

A tweet posted on April 28 about a supposed DOH-declared surge garnered over 11,000 “likes” and 2,213 retweets.

It alleged that two days before the election, the DOH will release a report indicating a hike in Covid-19 cases and that some of the positive individuals will be ordered to say that they went to a rally of a certain candidate.

“The Department of Health categorically denies unfounded rumors that it will report an artificial increase in Covid-19 cases close to election day for partisan use against any candidate at any level,” the DOH said in a statement.

The agency said the Philippines has low Covid-19 case trends due to high vaccination coverage and public compliance with minimum health standards.

DOH underscored that it uses metrics such as health care utilization to evaluate whether an escalation or de-escalation of alert levels is warranted.

“Instead of spreading false and unverified information, we can all do our part in preventing further transmission and avoiding further restrictions caused by the Covid-19 by wearing the best-fitted mask, (isolating) when sick, doubling up protection with vaccination and boosters, and ensuring good airflow,” it said.

The Philippines recorded an average of 195 cases daily the past week and an overall national positivity rate of 1.2 percent.