‘Dance along’ with COVID-19, resume economic activities — Roque

Published July 7, 2020, 6:09 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Filipinos must learn to “dance” or live with the coronavirus pandemic as the government moves to reopen the economy and resume people’s livelihood, according to a Palace official. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after declaring that staying alive and healthy is among the indications the country is making gains in the fight against the pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

“Sa Pilipino, when you have to live with something, sayawan mo na lang pero… iyan po ang gagawin natin. Sasayawan po natin, we have to deal with COVID-19 (In Filipino, when you have to live with something, you say just dance along. That’s what we will do. We will dance to it, we have to deal with COVID-19),” Roque said during a televised press briefing. 

“We have to resume with (regular activities of) our economy and at the same time protect our people,” he added.

He said the government has implemented strategies to combat the disease outbreak, from expanded testing to strict enforcement of quarantine rules. But the government also needs the full cooperation of the people to follow the health precautions such as wearing of masks and safe distancing.

“We cannot afford a second wave kaya nga po pinag-iingat natin ang lahat (so everyone must take precautions),” he said. 

Roque also refused to back down from his pronouncement that the country is “winning” the battle against the pandemic, citing the low fatality rate and case positivity rate.

The country has a COVID mortality rate of 2.9 percent, compared to the global average of 5.5 percent.  The positivity rate or percentage of total tests that return positive also dropped to 7 percent from 20 percent last April. 

“I will always say, we are winning against COVID-19. Siguro po doon sa mga ayaw maniwalang nananalo tayo, sige po sa inyong mga personal na paninindigan, tanggapin po ninyo iyon. Pero habang hindi po namamatay ang tao, habang mayroon po tayong kapasidad na magbigay ng medical  na lunas sa mga nagkakasakit, hindi ko po matatanggap na tayo po ay hindi nananalo  dito sa sakit na ito (To those who refuse to believe we are winning, then that’s your personal belief and you should accept that. But while people are not dying, while we have the capacity to provide medical treatment to the sick, I will not accept that we are not winning against this illness),” he said. 

“Pasensiya na po, dahil nakikita naman natin ang datos, hindi po tayo nag-iimbento ng datos, pero buhay pa po tayo, karamihan ng mga nagkakasakit. At sa akin po, dapat ikatuwa iyan (I’m sorry but we can see the data, we don’t invent the data. But we are still alive, many of those sick. For me, we should be happy about that),” he said.

As of July 7, the health department reported 1,540 new cases that pushed the total to 47,873. At least 12,386 people have recovered while 1,309 died from the illness.

The Philippines has become the nation with second highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

Roque however said the latest surge in cases is already expected since there is still no vaccine or cure for the disease. But he said this should not be a cause for alarm as long as people observe health protocols to avoid infections and help slow down the transmission.

“Mabuting balita naman po, karamihan po talaga ng aktibong kaso ay mild or asymptomatic. At ang binabantayan po natin ay iyong magkakasakit ng severe or critical, at sinisiguro po natin na sapat ang kakayahan natin na bigyan sila ng lunas. Iyan po iyong critical care capacity na sinasabi natin (The good news is many of the active cases are mild or asymptomatic. We are also monitoring the severe or critical cases. We will also ensure we have sufficient healthcare capacity, critical care capacity),” he said.

“Sa akin po, wala naman pong dahilan para mabahala, kinakailangan lang po talaga ipatupad natin iyong siguradong mga armas natin laban sa COVID-19 kagaya nang sinabi mo – wearing of mask, social distancing and paghuhugas ng kamay, at pananatiling malusog (For me, there is nothing to worry. We just need to use our weapons against COVID-19 such as wearing of mask, social distancing, hand washing, and staying healthy),” he said.