COVID-19 response has saved thousands of lives; gov’t strengthens test-trace-treat capacity — Roque

Published July 20, 2020, 3:05 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Government critics should open their eyes and realize that the government’s concerted efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has saved thousands of lives.


Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after critics disagreed with his remark last week that the government’s efforts against the pandemic were working.

“Hindi nila nakikita po (na) kung hindi dahil sa mabilis at matapang na desisyon ng ating Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte ay hindi lang 60,000 ang mga kaso sa Pilipinas (They are not seeing that if not for the President’s swift and brave decision, we would have more than 60,000 cases now),” he said.

“Sana naman sa mga kritiko natin, buksan ninyo ang inyong mga mata at isipan kung ilang daang libong buhay ang ating naisalba dahil sa aksyon ng pamahalaan (I hope that our critics would open their eyes and minds that we have saved hundreds and thousands of lives because of the government’s response to the pandemic),” he added.

While insisting that the government is doing the right strategy in battling the COVID-19 pandemic, Malacañang said that it will not be lax in addressing the global health crisis.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after critics disagreed with his remark last week that the government’s efforts against the pandemic were working.

In his Monday presser, Roque said critics were only basing their reaction on the number of COVID-19 cases and not on the government’s response to the pandemic.

According to Roque, the government continues to intensify its information dissemination campaign to remind the public to always wear masks, wash their hands, social-distance, and now to volunteer themselves to undergo quarantine in isolation facilities if they are asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 cases.

He added that the government was also strengthening its testing, tracing, isolation, and treatment capacities while slowly reopening the economy.

However, he said that the rise of COVID-19 cases in the country was not only because of the more aggressive testing but also because of the continuing transmission of the disease.

The numbers

To date, the country has reported 67,456 confirmed COVID-19 cases,1,831 of whom died while 22,465 have recovered.

Of the total number of cases, 43,160 are active, 90.1 percent of whom are mild cases, 9.1 percent are asymptomatic, 0.4 percent are severe, and 0.4 percent are critical.

Roque likewise gave an update on the status of hospital beds in the country as of July 18:

ICU Beds: 1,353 total beds
Occupied: 641 (47.4%)
Available: 712 (52.6%)

Isolation Beds: 10,639 total beds
Occupied: 5,153 (48.4%)
Available: 5,486 (51.6%)

Ward Beds: 3,572 total beds
Occupied: 1,990 (55.7%)
Available: 1,582 (44.3%)

Ventilators: 2,137 total units
Occupied: 520 (24.3%)
Available: 1,617 (75.7%)

The country has conducted a total of 1,058,764 individual tests as of July 18 in 67 licensed RT-PCR laboratories and 22 licensed GeneXpert laboratories.


According to Roque, the different local government units (LGUs) now have a bigger responsibility in the fight against COVID-19 as the country reopens the economy after more than 100 days of lockdown.

“Ang mga lokal na pamahalaan inaasahan natin na sila na po ang magpapatupad ng tinatawag nating (We expect LGUs to implement what we call) localized or granular lockdowns,” he said.

“Sila rin po siyempre ang magpapatupad ng mga ordinansa na nagtataguyod po ng ating wearing of masks, washing of hands, social distancing, at implementasyon ng pagbabawal sa pagtitipon-tipon (They will also implement ordinances that will institutionalize the wearing of masks, washing of hands, and social distancing; and to prohibit public gatherings),” he added.

Roque likewise enjoined the private sector and ordinary citizens to cooperate with the government in dealing with the pandemic especially now that there is a need to reopen the economy.

“Kailangan na talagang buksan ang ekonomiya. Kaya nga po ang sinasabi natin kailangan ingatan ang buhay para magkaroon ng hanapbuhay (We really need to open the economy now. That’s why we are saying that we need to protect ourselves so we can have work),” he said.