'Best practices': Gov't defends COVID-19 response as PH tally tops Southeast Asia

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 16 2020 11:53 AM

A police officer in protective gear checks the identification and temperature of motorists crossing from Cainta to Pasig City on April 15, 2020. Local government units have set up checkpoints between their boundaries to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while the island of Luzon is on enhanced community quarantine. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA- Like other countries, the Philippines is also using "best practices" when it comes to handling the coronavirus pandemic, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Thursday as the nation confirmed it has the most COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

The Philippines this week surpassed Malaysia as the Southeast Asian country with the most number of cumulative COVID-19 cases despite complaints of inadequate testing.

Nograles said the country is employing the same measures used by other countries, noting that the tally of cases should not be viewed as a competition.

"Ang best practices pa rin is exactly what we’re doing...What we are doing here in the Philippines, is also something they are doing in their respective countries," Nograles said in a virtual press briefing.

"Hindi naman ito contest na pakontian ng number," he said.

(This is not a contest of who has the less number of cases.)

The Cabinet official said among the shared practices in the region are imposing lockdowns, travel restrictions, and exploring medical treatments.

As of Wednesday, the Philippines has a cumulative 5,453 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 349 deaths, and 353 recoveries.

Nograles, however, said Filipinos should not be "disheartened" by the country's current tally as the government is working to improve its response mechanism.

"Of course, you'll be alarmed but you don't get disheartened if, naman, ang kapalit niyan agad nating na-isolate, agad nating nati-treat, agad nating napaparecover," he said.

(You don't get disheartened if that means that we can easily isolate, treat, and help the patients recover.)

The Philippines this week started implementing “enhanced testing” measures in a bid to reach 8,000 to 10,000 tests daily by end of April.

It also extended the lockdown of its most populous island Luzon until April 30 to contain the spread of the infectious disease.