By Genalyn Kabiling
The country’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) condition is improving amid the lower fatality rate and higher recovery rate.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque revealed this Monday, saying the government’s strict home quarantine rule and other quarantine restrictions helped contained the spread of the outbreak.
Without the strict measures, hundreds of thousands of people could have died due to the coronavirus disease.
Science and data, not fear, were used to save thousands of lives, Roque pointed out, adding that the government’s efforts have borne good results.
As a result, many parts of the Philippines have been placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) or the more relaxed modified GCQ.
Roque asserted that the government made the right decision in enforcing the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) over the entire Luzon back in March. He said the government has used public health efforts based on scientific data, not a military solution, to respond to the pandemic and help save lives.
“Kung walang ginagawa ang gobyerno, hundreds of thousands na ang namatay gaya sa ibang bansa. Tingnan ninyo ang kaso ang Brazil, hindi sila naniwala na kinakailangan ng social distancing, number two na sila sa daigdig (If the government did nothing, hundreds of thousands could have died like in other countries. Look at the cases in Brazil, they did not believe in social distancing so they are now number two in the world),” he said during a Palace press briefing.
“Tingnan ninyo ang nangyari sa Amerika, hundreds and thousands na ang namatay dahil marami sa kanila hindi rin naniniwala sa social distancing (Look at America, hundreds of thousands have died because many don’t believe in social distancing),” he said.
According to Roque, the country’s doubling rate of coronavirus cases has slowed down to seven days while the critical care utilization rate is around 35 percent.
The country’s testing has also reached more than 10,000 a day with the positivity rate at 5 percent. Of the 13,108 total bed capacity, Roque said the occupancy rate is 34 percent of the 1,298 ICU beds; 37 percent of 8,802 isolation beds; 35 percent of the 3,008 are beds.
At least 19 percent of 1,941 mechanical ventilators are in use “It proves that we are improving when it comes to the fight against COVID-19,” he said, showing graphs on the country’s coronavirus data.
“Unlike other countries with our population of 109 million, we have limited deaths to around 1,000,” he said.
As of June 21, the country has recorded 30,052 COVID-19 cases; 7,893 recoveries; and 1,169 deaths.
The government has gradually relaxed the quarantine restrictions around the country since the imposition of strict lockdown back in mid-March.
More businesses have been allowed to reopen subject to health protocols but some restrictions remain in public transportation, mass gatherings, and face-to-face classes.
Infections still rising Roque, however, recognized that the country’s cases of infections continue to rise but claimed this surge was no longer surprising. He noted that the World Health Organization recently reported the world faces a “new and dangerous phase” as the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating.
Given the lingering coronavirus threat, Roque appealed anew to the public to observe health protocols, including staying indoors and observing safe distancing. He said the public must not become complacent since the pandemic will stay until a coronavirus vaccine is found.
At present, only Cebu City has been placed under ECQ, the strictest of the four-level quarantine classification enforced by the government, due to the surge in infections and high critical healthcare utilization rate. Nearby Talisay City is under the modified ECQ.
Metro Manila and several places are under the more relaxed General Community Quarantine (GCQ) until the end of the month.
The modified ECQ is enforced in the rest of the country as the government moved to allow more business to reopen in a bid to reboot the economy.
The Inter-Agency Task Force is expected to review the country’s situation and make a recommendation on whether to retain, relax, or extend the quarantine measures beyond June 30.