CAMP AGUINALDO, QUEZON CITY (29 JUNE 2020)— Following the moratorium on travel imposed on locally stranded individuals (LSIs) bound for Cebu province, as well as those returning to regions VI, VIII and CARAGA, the government emphasized that the public’s health must be ensured if the country is to win the war on COVID-19.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that the travel of LSIs to the aforementioned places have been put on hold in order to contain the current coronavirus situation in those areas.
“Itong mga lugar na ito, wala na po silang lugar para mag quarantine, (habang) ang Cebu naman po, naka-ECQ,” Roque said during Monday’s regular media briefing at the Palace.
“Ang ating protocol pa rin po ay health certificate, kung manggagaling ng Manila. Pagdating sa probinsya, bigyan ng PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction test) kung mayroon. Kung wala, i-quarantine ng 14 days,” he added.
As of June 27, there are 127,367 registered LSIs, the majority of them stranded in Region V (28,670), Metro Manila (16,738), and Region IV-B (16,361).
According to Roque, discussions are ongoing on how to best address the plight of LSIs, while making sure that the local government units that will be receiving them have the capacity to do so.
To ease concerns regarding the cost of PCR testing, National Action Plan (NAP) against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. gave the assurance that there are enough test kits for LSIs.
“Mayroon po tayong available na one million test kits. ‘Yun po ang gagamitin. Kaya rin po natin isinasama ang LSIs, para maisama sa Philhealth sa expanded protocol,” Galvez said.
Slowly but surely
Citing a study conducted by the University of the Philippines, Roque noted that without government intervention such as the enforcement of quarantine protocols, the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the country could have ballooned to over 3.6 million.
“Ang ginagawa po natin ngayon habang wala pang bakuna ay pinapabagal natin ang pagkalat ng sakit,” Roque said.
Based on Department of Health data, the country already has 35,455 positive cases as of June 28, 2020, with 1,244 deaths and 9,686 recoveries.
Roque likewise pointed out that while the country’s testing capacity has increased, the number of positive cases has been steadily declining.
“Nagsimula po tayo na mataas ang ating positivity rate, 13%, out of 100 (people) na tine-test natin. Ngayon po bumaba na po tayo, mahigit kumulang anim (6%) sa bawat 100 (people),” Roque said.
“Napakalaki na ng itinaas ng ating mga natest. (Nasa) 2,500 (tests per day) noong nagsimula tayo noon. Ngayon nasa 15,000 (actual tests per day) na tayo,” he added.
Meanwhile, Galvez expressed confidence that the government is gaining ground in the nation’s fight versus the deadly disease.
“From the start of our fight against COVID-19, mayroon po tayong plano. We have a National Action Plan. Karamihan po ng mga lugar ngayon (sa bansa, classified as) moderate and low risk na,” Galvez said.
“Ang nakikita ko po, based sa plano na ginawa ng ating National Task Force ay we are winning. From the threshold ng WHO (World Health Organization), ibig sabihin nitong positivity rate natin, (which is below 10%) is gumaganda ang situation natin,” the chief implementer added.
Galvez also noted that the country’s healthcare capacity has significantly improved, particularly in Metro Manila as evidenced by the utilization rate of health facilities in the area.
“Nasa 30% lang ang critical utilization rate sa NCR (National Capital Region). Nakita namin na magagaling ang mga doktor natin at (mas) alam na natin paano gamutin (ang mga COVID patients),” he said. ###