The Philippines deserves a 85-percent grade in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic since the country has a low mortality rate, the “best testing policy” in Asia, and improved healthcare capacity, Malacañang said Tuesday.

000 1W995Y - Roque gives PH a high 85-percent grade in fight against the pandemic
(Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque gave the passing mark after the government’s efforts, such as quarantine measures, saved the country from having 3 million coronavirus cases last July.

“All in all, I think we deserve a very good grade. I would give it a grade of 85%,” he said during a televised press briefing Tuesday.

Roque highlighted that the country has a low mortality rate of 1.7 percent, saying it proves that “Filipino doctors know how to take care of COVID patients.”

Roque likewise took pride in the improved testing capacity in the country, saying it is the nation’s “biggest strength” in the fight against the pandemic.

“We clearly have the best testing policy in the whole of Asia and probably in the whole world because we have exceeded three million,” he said. “I think we will have the highest number of testing, one of the highest in the whole world.  So, that’s clearly, our biggest strength,” he added.

Roque also cited that the country’s healthcare system is also “not overwhelmed.” At least 50 percent of the 1,900 intensive care unit (ICU) beds are available while 73 percent of the 2,200 ventilators are not yet in use. 

Roque admitted though that the country must improve its tracing and isolation efforts to prevent the spread of the illness.  “We need to brush up in our tracing,” he said. 

He expressed hope that the contact tracing efforts will be given a shot in the arm with the passage of the Bayanihan 2 law, that allots P5 billion for the hiring of contact tracers.  “We will have major inroads and successes using also the Magalong formula,” he said.

He said the more isolation facilities should be established to house people with the coronavirus. The government earlier put on hold a plan to ban home quarantine pending consultations with local government units.

“One limitation of course is we don’t have enough isolation facilities. So dapat mas marami pang isolation facilities ang ating itayo (so we must build more isolation facilities),” he said.

As of September 15, the country has recorded 269,407 cases of coronavirus with 4,663 deaths and 207,352 recoveries.

At 2.9 million individuals have so far taken the coronavirus test based on the Department of Health data. Of the people tested, 10.6 percent tested positive for the illness. 

The government has gradually relaxed the strict lockdown measures, allowing more businesses to reopen and people to resume their livelihood. The easing of the quarantine measures aims to revitalize the economy, which has been weakened by the pandemic.

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