'Huwag magsisihan,' Palace appeals as Philippines reports record rise in COVID-19 cases


Posted at Mar 22 2021 07:41 PM

'Huwag magsisihan,' Palace appeals as Philippines reports record rise in COVID-19 cases 1
Members of the Philippine National Police inspect passing motorists at a checkpoint along the Batasan-San Mateo Bridge bordering Quezon City and San Mateo, Rizal on March 22, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Malacañang on Monday urged the public to refrain from assigning blame as the Philippines reported a record daily rise in COVID-19 infections. 

The Philippines has exceeded its previous peak of COVID-19 infections in August, and most of new cases are recorded from Metro Manila and the Calabarzon region, said Palace spokesman Harry Roque. 

The presence of new COVID-19 variants, low mask usage, superspreader events, gatherings, and poor ventilation contribute to the surge in infections, as well as reduced surveillance and contact-tracing, and delayed testing, Roque said in a press briefing.

Asked who should be blamed for the last 2 lapses he mentioned, Roque said, "Huwag na po tayong magsisihan." 

(Let us not blame each other.)

The StaySafe contact-tracing app is now fully operational and will be used by local governments, he said. 

"Hindi pa rin natin maaabot iyong 30 plus [contact-tracing ratio] na sinasabi ni [Baguio] Mayor [Benjamin] Magalong pero pinaiigting na po natin iyan," said Roque. 

(We still have not reached the 30 plus contact-tracing ratio prescribed by Mayor Magalong but we are boosting that.)

Authorities are going house-to-house to find those who had interacted with COVID-19 patients. 

Malacañang might not ask those responsible for lapses to explain, said Roque. 

"Natuto na po tayo. At ngayon po talaga, ang leksyon po sa lahat, hindi po ibig sabihin na palibhasa napababa na natin ay tayo po ay we will relax our caution," he said.

"Kinakailangan po talaga, bagama't nakakapagod talaga iyan, naiintindihan ko naman eh, we are always on our best behavior at palagi po tayong (mag) mask, hugas, iwas, at bakuna." 
(We have learned. And the lesson to everyone is, success in lowering cases does not mean that we will relax our caution. Though it's tiring, and I understand that, we should always be in our best behavior and always wear mask up, wash, avoid gatherings and get vaccinated.) 

The Philippine on Monday reported 8,019 new coronavirus infections, registering a record daily increase in cases. It was the third time the Philippines posted a record high in daily cases in the past four days.

In a bulletin, the health department said total confirmed cases had reached 671,792, while deaths increased by four to 12,972. 

With reports from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS CBN News; Reuters