Health chief: PH has one of lowest virus infection rates in the world

Workers install beds at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, which was converted into a quarantine facility. The center can house 294 COVID-19 patients. | photo by Michelle Alquinto

The Philippines reportedly has a “low” number confirmed novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases compared to other countries, according to claims by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The country’s ratio of COVID-19 infection is two for every one million of the population, the secretary said on Thursday, April 9.

“‘Pagka ihahambing po natin ang bilang ng mga may impeksyon sa Pilipinas ay isa po tayo sa may pinakamababa na bilang, sa 3,764 as of [Thursday]. At ito pong bilang na ito ay lumalabas dalawa ang total case per 1 million population. Isa po tayo sa pinakamababa (If we compare the number of infections in the Philippines, we are one of those with the lowest number, with 3,764 as of Tuesday. This figure shows a total of two cases per 1 million population. We are one of those with the lowest number),” he said.

Duque noted that having the lowest number of infections was a result of the preventive measures implemented by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Ito ay nagsasalamin ng mga desisyon na ginawa ng ating mahal na Pangulo. Ito ‘yung ating absolute travel restriction na binaba ng ating Pangulo doon sa mga manggalgaling sa bansang China noong Pebrero. Pangalawa ay ang lockdown o enhanced community quarantine (This reflects the decisive measures ordered by the President, which is the absolute travel restriction to China and the enhanced community quarantine imposed over Luzon),” he said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire previously said that the country’s testing capacity must first stabilize before the “true picture” of the COVID-19 pandemic could be determined.

As of April 7, there are at least 10 laboratories nationwide capable of conducting coronavirus tests, and at least 69 more labs are being prepared to fully handle tests.

Mass testing is expected to begin on April 14, however, the DOH stressed that mass testing would still be for patients under investigation, symptomatic persons under monitoring, and high-risk patients, such as health workers, pregnant women, and those with other medical conditions (e.g. cancer and diabetes).

As of press time, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has reached 4,195, with 221 fatalities and 140 recoveries.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]

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