DOH on fight vs COVID: Gov't can take care of its people, but we still can't say if we're winning

Is the Philippines winning or losing the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?  

Department of Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire yesterday said we are not yet at the stage that we can have an answer to that question, but assured that the government can take care of its people.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Yung mananalo tayo, natatalo tayo, wala pa tayo sa estado na iyan para makapagsabi tayo niyan (We are not in that state yet to say if we are winning or losing),” said Vergeire during a radio interview on Saturday, August 15.

“Alam natin na magtatagal pa ang virus na ito. Hindi pa natin iyan masasabi sa ngayon. Ang masasabi lang natin that government can take care of its people (We know that this virus will last a long time. We cannot say that yet. All we can say is that the government can take care of its people),” she added. 

Vergeire said that the country’s COVID-19 response was approved last March, when the surge of infections started. 

She said that the situation had also helped us improve our system to better address the situation. 

“If you ask me, nasaan tayo ngayon sa laban na ito? Tayo po ay nakapag improve ng ating system para   we can better manage and better address the situation,” she said. 

“Although we still have gaps hindi po natin iyan ikakaila, pero mas ready po ang system natin ngayon kesa sa dati ,” she added. 

Among the improvements that Vergeire cited were the increase in the number of laboratories that can conduct COVID-19 tests alongside the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the establishment of the different temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, the designation of hospitals as COVID-19 referral centers, among others. 

Vergeire also said that different safeguards were also readied in case the community quarantine measure in various areas would be downgraded. She noted that the implementation of community quarantine is just one of the interventions to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases.  

“We want to show that we can do it with local government units, to help them --- they can lead or they can do the granular lockdowns, they can do active finding of these cases ---- house-to-house, isolation, and establishing temporary treatment and monitoring facilities,” she said in Pilipino.