Palace hits critics for ignoring ‘rest of Covid-19 data’

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MANILA – Malacañang on Sunday hit critics for only paying attention to the increase in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the country while ignoring the rise in recoveries and decline in deaths.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he found it “unfortunate” how people failed to see how the spike in cases is due to “aggressive testing”.

“We find it unfortunate that some quarters cannot seem to see the forest for the trees when they cite the cumulative number of cases and blatantly ignore the rest of the Covid-19 data,” he said.

Currently, there are a total of 65,304 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country, of which 22,067 are recoveries and 1,773 are deaths.

He explained that the “sad reality” is that the virus is not going away easily until we develop a vaccine or find a cure.

Despite the jump in recoveries and decrease in deaths, Roque said the national government sympathizes with those who lost their family members due to Covid-19.

“We believe that one life lost is one too many and that these numbers will not lull us to a false sense of security but instead make us work double time in improving our response against Covid-19,” he said.

Citing the study of the University of the Philippines anew, he said if it were not for the community quarantines imposed nationwide, the country would have reached three million Covid-19 cases.

“The community quarantine that the Administration imposed has helped us improve our health system capacity, and in turn, save thousands of lives at a huge cost to our economy,” he said, describing the decision to choose health above economic activities as “the bitter pill.”

However, Roque said the national government has been “serious” in looking at science in making decisions, such as the country’s case doubling rate, the utilization of critical care facilities and the case fatality rate which now stands at 2.7 percent which is far lower than the global average of 5.5 percent, as of July 19.

Amid criticism, he said the government will continue to “work round the clock” with the local government units and the private sector, in enforcing health protocols and improving our testing, tracing, isolation and treatment while gradually opening the economy.

Earlier, Roque emphasized the importance of intervention being done by local government units (LGUs), private companies, and individual citizens to effectively flatten the curve or slow down the Covid-19 infection rate.

One of the strategies being implemented by LGUs to prevent community transmission is to ensure that asymptomatic and mild patients are transferred to isolation centers.

“Those who don’t have facilities for home isolation when they are asymptomatic or mild, that they will really be transferred to isolation centers,” he said in a TV interview.

He also reiterated that the government could “compel” infected individuals who are not qualified to undergo home quarantine to transfer to isolation centers.

“I think we can still compel them but I don’t think it will be in the nature as if they are being treated as criminal. We’d like to think that these are matters that can be settled in the barangay,” he said. “I think the barangay has the necessarily means and experience to persuade these individuals to go.”

He expressed confidence that there would not be a need to use force since all patients are made to feel comfortable while under isolation.

“We’re offering air-conditioned facilities with wifi and free board and lodging. It’s actually a hotel experience, so why would you say no to a hotel experience,” he added. -PNA

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