Palace shrugs off rising infections, cites improved testing

MANILA. Health workers pray as a Catholic priest blesses the Covid-19 swab test area of a hospital in Manila, Philippines on Thursday, August 6, 2020. (AP)

MALACA√ĎANG on Friday, August 7, downplayed reports that the Philippines is now Southeast Asia's Covid-19 hotspot after it surpassed Indonesia in terms of the number of coronavirus infections.

As of August 6, the Philippines reported a total of 119,460 cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) while Indonesia had 118,753.

"May mga nagsasabi na masama raw itong pigura dahil tayo na nga raw po ang pinaka mataas. Hindi naman po ganoon 'yon. Ang ibig sabihin lang nito, alam na natin kung nasaan 'yung kalaban nating Covid-19, at ngayong alam na natin kung nasaan ang Covid-19 puwede na po natin silang ma-isolate, ma-trace, at pagamutin," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing Friday.

He attributed the high case count in the Philippines to its improved testing capacity.

"Alam niyo po, tapatan, bagama't ayaw nating makita itong mga numerong ito, itong mga numero naman po ay resulta ng mas pinaigting na nating mga testing," he said.

"Dati po iisa lang ang laboratoryo natin, ngayon po mayroon na tayong 100 laboratories, at ang ating mga test ngayon na ginagawa ay umabot na po tayo sa total ng 1,643,539 tests or an average of 28,938 tests per day," he added.

(We don't want to see this number, but this is a result of our improved testing capability. We now have 100 laboratories. Total tests conducted have reached 1.64 million or an average of 28,938 tests per day.)

Roque said the Philippines has tested about 1.5 percent of its population, while Indonesia was able to test only 0.34 percent 0f its population.

He said Indonesia tested only 9,008 people on August 4 and an average of 14,921 per day in the last seven days.

"Ibig sabihin po, dahil mas maigting ang ating pag t-test, hindi po totoo na mas maraming kaso tayo kesa sa Indonesia. Hindi lang nalalaman ng mga Indonesian kung sinu-sino na po 'yung umiikot na mayroon na pong sakit," Roque said.

"At least tayo po, alam na natin kung sino na po sila. Kaya po dapat na tignan natin ang buong konteksto ng isang bagay. Mahalaga po na ang ating mga desisyon ay ayon sa datos at siyensya," he added.

Roque said it is easier for Filipinos to detect and isolate people infected with Covid-19 due to its ramped up testing.

Metro Manila and four provinces in Luzon were reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) on August 4, temporarily suspending public transportation and limiting business operations, because of the rising cases of infection.

Other areas in the country are under either general community quarantine or modified general community quarantine. (SunStar Philippines)


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