The COVID-19 cases have been rising in the nation, especially in the National Capital Region. On March 15, 2021, exactly a year after Metro Manila was placed on community quarantine, 5,404 new cases were logged. On March 22, the highest number of COVID-19 cases per day in our nation was logged at 8,019, bringing our country’s total infections to over 671,792. New cases per day are projected at possibly 11,000 per day by the end of March, in light of the 2.1 reproduction rate of the infection. This rate means one infected person could infect two more, and the two could infect four more, and so on.
This increased rate has been attributed to the new variants as well as the public’s greater mobility. Though generally, 97.5 percent are mild and asymptomatic and the number of people who die from the disease in the Philippines is just 1.93 percent, this is still a serious matter since more cases mean more people experience the severe form of the disease and even death.
Yesterday, March 22, the government has designated NCR and its four neighboring provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) as the NCR Plus bubble, where additional restrictions to the general community quarantine guidelines are implemented. A year into the pandemic, we seem to find ourselves in the same situation: curfews and community quarantines, limited movement, and no assurance of what our circumstances will be weeks from now. As a nation, we are holding on to the hope that we will emerge victorious in this battle against a seemingly invisible enemy that has continually plagued us.
The Lord is still in control. He is at work among the nations and has a plan and a purpose in all these (Psalm 46:8–11). We can confidently come to Him in prayer and participate in what He is doing, with full assurance that He is at work healing individuals, families, and our nation.
In the apostle Paul’s letter to young Timothy, he encouraged him to have the right spirit in facing difficulties, which is an apt word for us today:
. . . for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7
The Lord is at work in our nation, so we don’t need to fear. Instead, let us proclaim His power to heal, keep reaching out to our neighbors in love, and be mindful of each other’s well-being.
As the government implements measures to curb the rising cases and expand the reach of the vaccination program, as our health workers strive to serve despite approaching full capacity in our hospitals, and as private entities continue to implement safety health protocols, let us stand on behalf of our nation and ask God to heal our land!
Faith over Fear. Pray against the fear in our nation at this time. Speak the promise of God in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that as we, the people who are called by God’s name, humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways, then He will hear from heaven and forgive our sin and heal our land. Pray that Filipinos will find hope in God and call on Him today.
Wisdom for Our Leaders. Pray for wisdom for our government and private sector leaders as they make decisions in this season to mitigate the spread of the virus and increase access to proper healthcare.
Healing for the Afflicted. Pray for the individuals and families that contracted the virus, that they would quickly recover and that they would be spared from the severity of the disease.
Protection for Our Front Liners. Pray for the healthcare workers and other front liners as they consistently serve the nation in the midst of a pandemic for over a year now. Speak protection on them and a blessing on their families as they selflessly serve.
Starting today, we will be posting prayer points for the Philippines every month.
To learn more about the COVID-19 situation in our nation, you can read the news in the links below.
- Official DOH Bulletin as of March 2021
- Rappler article on the current number of cases, projected 8k/day new cases by March-end
- PTV News article about general community quarantine policies until April 4
- Inquirer articles projecting 10-11k cases/day and reporting the 2.1 Reproduction rate
- ABS-CBN News article on COVID-19 Surge in PH
- GMA News article on vaccine roll-out in the Philippines
- Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana, an infectious diseases doctor and molecular biologist, serving as Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of the National Institutes of Health at the University of the Philippines Manila