By Genalyn Kabiling
The early imposition of the Luzon-wide lockdown has yielded “good results,” including delaying the coronavirus “curve” by a month, Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. said Thursday.
Galvez said the enhanced community quarantine was a tough decision by President Duterte but has given government leeway to further improve health facilities and resources to effectively address the public health emergency.
The former military chief of staff is the chief implementer of the government’s national response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Sa ngayon po, nakita po natin na ‘yung ating lockdown ay napakaganda po ng ating nagawa dahil po nai-push po ‘yung curve towards one month na delay (At present, we have seen the lockdown is the best thing we did because it pushed the curve towards one month delay) so it gave us the capacity to improve our medical services,”” he said during a public briefing past midnight.
Galvez also highlighted that the country made better preparations to address the coronavirus emergency compared to countries like the United States, Japan and Singapore.
Unlike President Duterte’s early lockdown enforced in Luzon last month, he pointed out that it was only recently when these countries implemented their own lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The former military chief also welcomed the improving number of recoveries from the coronavirus infection in the country. The death toll in other countries, on the other hand, continued to soar, he said.
“Itong mga ito nakikita natin napakaganda ng ating preparasyon kumpara sa ibang bansa (We have seen our preparations are better than other countries),” he said.
As of April 8, the Department of Health (DOH) announced 106 more cases of coronavirus disease that pushed the total to 3,870. The death toll is pegged at 182 while the patients who recovered from the illness reached 96.
“Sa US, they have 1,000 every day. Sa atin nakita natin — sa atin hindi pa tumataas ng 30 o nakikita natin nag-a-ano lang ng walo hanggang lima o hanggang mataas sa 10 (In the US, they have 1,000 every day. Our cases have not reached 30. We’ve seen five to eight or 10 cases),” he said.
“Nakikita natin na ngayon ang Japan na napakayaman, ang kanilang health services hindi maka — maka-ano — maka-accommodate ng mga nangyayari sa kanilang mga cases. Same — so with Singapore, they conducted the lockdown (We have seen Japan is very rich but their health services cannot accommodate all cases. Same with Singapore, they conducted the lockdown),” he said.
Galvez said the President’s imposition of travel restrictions on coronavirus-hit countries have also helped curb the disease outbreak in the country.
“Nakita natin na maganda ang naging desisyon ng ating mahal na Pangulo na tayo ang pinakauna na nagkaroon ng tinatawag nating ‘yung travel ban sa mga bansa na nagkakaroon ng COVID cases (We have seen the good decision of the President when we wee the order to impose a travel ban on countries with COVID cases),” he said.
“At nakita natin na ang ating hard decision, ‘yung desperate decision natin is paving the way for good results that we are having now (And we have seen this hard and desperate decision is paving the way for good results that we are having now),” he added.
National COVID action plan on track
The government meantime is “on track” in carrying out measures on enhancing health facilities and resources, including the areas of mass testing and isolation, according to Galvez.
He said more laboratories have been accredited as coronavirus testing centers to improve the country’s daily testing capacity.
“‘Yung plano po natin na National Action Plan ay on track. ‘Yung capacity natin, ng DOH, ay lumalakas na po ngayon. Ang ating testing ay tumataas na na ngayon na 2,400 (Our National Action Plan is on track. Our capacity, the DOH, is getting stronger. Our testing capacity has reached 2,4000 a day),” he said.
“And then ‘yung na-accredit po na mga testing center ay umabot na po ng 11 and then meron pa pong walo na nag-a-apply na magkakaroon po ng testing (We have accredited 11 testing centers while there are eight pending applications for testing),” he added.
President Duterte earlier ordered the extension of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine until April 30 amid the soaring cases of infections in the country.
The extended lockdown aims to restrict movement and curb the spread of the disease while the government ramps up the protection of the health workers as well as the establishment of more testing centers and quarantine facilities for coronavirus patients.