Roque allays fears amid rising COVID-19 cases, insists PH still winning vs pandemic

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 7) – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday the government can now test up to 11 million Filipinos for COVID-19, as he insisted anew that the country is winning against the coronavirus.

Roque added that there was nothing to fear, even with the total of COVID-19 cases spiking to more than a thousand daily in the past few days. The country’s total number of infections is now at 46,333, with 12,185 recoveries and 1,303 deaths.

"Habang hindi namamatay ang tao at habang may kapasidad tayong magbigay ng medikal na lunas sa mga nagkakasakit, hindi ko po matatanggap na tayo'y hindi nananalo sa sakit na ito [For as long as people are not dying and we have the capacity to provide medical attention to the sick, I cannot accept claims that we are not winning against this disease]," Roque said in a statement.

READ: 'Congratulations, Philippines': Roque says the country beat UP's COVID-19 forecast

When asked about the government's efforts to expand coronavirus testing, Roque said during his regular briefing that the country has an additional 10 million RT-PCR tests and about 250,000 more rapid test kits available. He said this is on top of the 800,000 individuals tested so far.

He added that local laboratories have a maximum capacity of 74,304 tests per day, although this has not been maximized.

"Talaga naman pong pinalawak na natin ang targeted testing natin [We have really expanded our targeted testing] to include 10 percent of our population," he added.

This would allow the government to surpass its original target of at least 2 percent of the population. Earlier, testing czar Vince Dizon said in interview last week that the country can start testing individuals even if they are not showing symptoms.

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Both Roque and National Task Force chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. said last week that the government is "winning" against the pandemic, claiming that the situation is under control.

"The cases, pwede pong dumami sila pero habang pinoprotektahan po natin ang mga vulnerable, habang lahat po tayo ay nag-o-observe ng minimum health standards, at habang pinalalakwak natin ang T3 (test, trace, treat) natin, kakayanin po nating mabuhay amidst COVID-19," he added. "Some will say kinakailangan nating sayawan ang COVID-19 kasi sa Pilipino, when you have to live with something, 'sayawan mo na lang.' Pero 'yan po ang gagawin natin – sasayawan po natin, we have to deal with COVID-19."

[Translation: The cases can keep on rising but as long as we are protecting the vulnerable, as long as all of us are observing minimum health standards, and as we expand our testing, tracing, and treatment, we can live with COVID-19. Some will say we need to “dance” with COVID-19 because it's part of Filipino culture. When you have to live with something, just dance. That's what we'll do – we'll dance, we have to deal with COVID-19.]