Testing czar trivializes Singapore article on PH as potential ‘COVID hotspot’

Published August 6, 2020, 11:41 AM

by Dhel Nazario

Testing czar Vince Dizon said that the spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases is “normal” since the government is continuously conducting more tests. 

Testing czar Vince Dizon

He made the statement in connection to the article written by a Singapore newspaper that said the country is “likely to become Southeast Asia’s coronavirus hotspot.”

“First of all, I think it’s very difficult to make speculative statements like that. I (would) rather not comment on the speculations made by a newspaper from another country,” Dizon said during the launch of the COVID-19 Command Center in Makati City.

“But I think what the data shows us is that since we ramped up testing we have found more positives and our people have to understand that that is normal,” he added.  

Dizon noted that when the country had no access to testing, it was hard to pinpoint those who are positive from the virus. He mentioned that transmission became high especially in June when several areas were placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ). 

“Malalaman lang natin ang extent o ang dami ng mga na-infect ng COVID-19 kung tayo ay magtetest, magtetrace at yun ang ginawa natin (We would only know the extent and the number of those infected if we will test and trace and that is what we did),” Dizon explained. 

“Ang mga ibang bansa tulad ng Indonesia ang kanilang testing ay kalahati lang ng ginagawa nating testing ngayon. Isa na tayo sa pinakamataas or tayo na ata ang pinakamataas sa Southeast Asia in terms of tests per day (Other countries such as Indonesia, their testing is just half of what we are capable of. We are one of the highest or I think the highest in Southeast Asia in terms of tests per day),” he added.

Dizon said that we have now reached a total of 30,000 tests per day and mentioned that Singapore is nowhere near that number. The country’s testing is now double of what South Korea is doing. 

“So habang tayo ay nagtetest talagang mas marami tayong nakikitang positibo (So while we are testing we are getting more positive cases),” he said.

Dizon reiterated the importance of testing to isolate those who are found to be positive to avoid the spread of the virus. He said that the fight against COVID-19 does not stop with testing, and those infected must be isolated immediately.

He added that it’s hard to comment on Singapore’s article and finds it speculative. 

“Ang masasabi ko dumami na ang testing natin tayo na ang pinaka mataas Southeast Asia sa testing per day nasa halos 1.7 million na ang natetest natin sa buong bansa mahigit isang milyon diyan ay nasa NCR lamang at tuloy-tuloy nating gagawin ‘to (What I can say is our testing increased and we are the highest in Southeast Asia in testing per day and there are about 1.7 million that were tested in the whole country and about one million of this is from NCR and we will continue to do this),” Dizon stated.