The recent surge in COVID-19 cases compels the country to act swiftly to slow down the infection rate, according to acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua.
The country has been in varying levels of quarantine in the past year. As a result, an estimated 16.4 million people have experienced hunger nationwide. In NCR alone, 3.2 million individuals or one in four people are hungry. There are also 506,000 jobless people.
Chua said the focus on Covid-19 has also shifted attention away from other critical illnesses and diseases.
According to the results of a preliminary study from the Center for Global Development, PhilHealth claims for high burden diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and hypertension have dropped by 75 percent during the pandemic.
This means that the majority of the people are deferring health treatment due to lack of resources for healthcare, mobility restrictions, or the fear of getting infected in hospitals.