Officials alarmed by high number of asymptomatic cases in Cebu City
By Ador Vincent Mayol
Philippine Daily Inquirer
2020-05-23 04:05:04

CEBU CITY—Most of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Cebu City may have been largely spread by people without symptoms, officials here said.

The Cebu City Health Department (CCHD) said on Friday that about 90 percent of the persons who tested positive for COVID-19 in the city were asymptomatic.

While the report sounded good, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said there was nothing to be happy about it.

“This is more dangerous because these asymptomatic individuals walk around the streets without any colds, cough, or fever. Unknowingly, they are already infecting others,” he told reporters here on Friday.

“If we don’t follow the precautionary measures, then this is dangerous,” added CCHD chief Dr. Daisy Villa.

As of Thursday, Cebu City has 1,823 COVID-19 cases, of which 1640 were asymptomatic. Cebu City’s number of cases also accounted for most of the 2,111 infections in the entire Cebu, which also included the two other independent cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu and the province of Cebu.

Superspreader

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday, however, told senators during a virtual Senate session that it remained unproven that asymptomatic persons could infect others.

“The WHO (World Health Organization), up to now, has no report or evidence showing that those who are asymptomatic are contagious. That’s the WHO,” Duque said.

Titus Borromeo, spokesperson of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, said asymptomatic people were considered “superspreaders,” as they have no idea that they have been infected and are transmitting the virus unto their families and communities.”

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