Palace downplays PH COVID hot spot in SEA

August 07, 2020

MALACANANG on Friday dismissed as “false” and “inconclusive” the reports that the Philippines now emerges as Southeast Asia’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) hot spot, after allegedly overtaking Indonesia as the worst-hit nation in the region.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines has reported more COVID-19 cases than Indonesia because of Manila’s improved testing capacity.

“Dahil mas maigting ang ating pagte-test, hindi po totoo na mas maraming kaso tayo kaysa sa Indonesia,” Roque said in a virtual press conference.

Roque noted that the Philippines can conduct an average of 28,938 COVID-19 tests per day, higher than Indonesia’s 14,921 COVID-19 tests per day.

Thus, the Philippines’ testing capacity is “three times” more advanced than Indonesia’s ability to conduct tests for COVID-19 daily, Roque said.

On Thursday, the Philippines reported 3,561 new COVID-19 infections.

This raises the total number of COVID-19 infections in the country to 119,460, surpassing Indonesia's 118,753 cases.

Belying reports that the Philippines now has the most number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, Roque stressed that Bali only has “one-third of the actual testing” that Manila has conducted.

“So ‘yun po ang aking basis for saying na hindi naman talaga totoo at conclusive na mas marami na tayong kaso dito sa Pilipinas compared to Indonesia,” Roque said.

In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, President Rodrigo Duterte has once again imposed tougher quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces.

Modified enhanced quarantine, the second most stringent quarantine classification, has been imposed in Metro Manila and the provinces of Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bataan from Aug. 4 to 18.

Roque ensured that the government would continue to push for measures that would help defeat COVID-19.

“Mas kilala na po natin ang anyo ng COVID-19. Kumpara noong Marso, alam na natin kung paano ito kumakalat, alam na rin natin kung paano ito maiiwasan,”he said. PNA