Gov’t doing its best to address coronavirus crisis, Palace assures

Published August 11, 2020, 7:39 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is not sleeping on the job in terms of addressing the coronavirus emergency, Malacañang said Tuesday in the wake of surging cases of infections.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.(CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.(CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque admitted that the government may not be as successful as other nations but it is working hard to respond to the public health crisis.

“We may not be as successful but I can assure you, everyone is working darn hard to find a solution to the problem,” Roque said during a televised press briefing from Davao City Tuesday.

“Kung magkulang man, well pagpasensyahan po, pero hindi nyo po maakusa ang gobyernong ito na natutulog sa pansitan (If we fall short, please bear with us but you cannot accuse the government of sleeping on the job),” he added.

To limit the spread of the disease, Roque said the government’s strategy includes aggressive testing, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment of people with coronavirus.

As of August 11, the country has recorded 139,538 cases of coronavirus with 2,312 deaths. The Philippines has overtaken Indonesia with the highest COVID cases among Southeast Asian nations.

The government had earlier started to relax the strict lockdown in the country to kickstart the stalled economy. The coronavirus cases, however, continues to surge past 100,000, which the government has attributed to the expanded testing efforts.

When the medical community pleaded for a two-week timeout to ease the burden on healthcare system, President Duterte agreed to tighten the lockdown in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces until August 18.

Vice President Leni Robredo recently said the latest increase in coronavirus cases is not solely due to the increased testing efforts but due to “bad” community transmission.

Reacting to Robredo’s observation, Roque admitted that the community transmission continues as shown by the spike in coronavirus cases.

“Siyempre po, hindi po imposible na ganito karami ang numero natin dahil lamang sa increased testing, iyan naman po ay kinikilala natin. Talaga naman pong patuloy pa rin ang community transmission (Of course, it is not impossible that the numbers are high not only because of increased testing and we recognize that. Community transmission really continues),” he said.

“Pero ang susi nga po para mapabagal ang community transmission eh mapaigting na testing nga po para ma-isolate natin, dahil kapag hindi na-isolate ang mga positive ay patuloy po ang community transmission (But the key to slowing down community transmission is testing so we can isolate because if we don’t isolate the positive cases, the community transmission will persist),” he said.

Roque also cited that a research data from the University of the Philippines (UP) Octa Research Monitoring Report indicated the country’s case reproduction number (R0) has decreased from 1.65 to 1.12 this month.

The reproduction rate in Metro Manila has also dropped to 1.18 from August 3 to 9, from 1.81 recorded last month.