MANILA — The Philippines is managing new, more infectious COVID-19 variants "well," Malacañang said on Monday, even as the country's total tally of coronavirus infections neared the 1 million mark.
While the Philippines has recorded a total of 997,523 COVID-19 cases, the public should look at the number of recoveries, said Palace spokesman Harry Roque. The country's fatality rate from the novel coronavirus remains lower than the global average, he added.
"Unag-una, hindi po natin hinayaan [dumami]. Talagang nagkaroon po ng mga variants na naging dahilan kung bakit lumobo [ang mga kaso]," Roque said in a press briefing.
(First of all, we did not let the cases increase. It's just that variants were the reason why cases ballooned.)
Of the Philippines' total coronavirus infections, 903,665 are no longer active, while 16,783 led to deaths, as of Sunday, according to data from the health department.
The country's ranking in terms of highest COVID-19 cases has improved to 26th, from the previous 20th, Roque said.
"I don't think it is a negative reflection," he said. "On the other hand, dahil nga po meron tayong world ranking, makikita natin na we are managing, still, the new variants rather well."
(Because we have world rankings, we can see that we are managing, still, the new variants rather well.)
Video courtesy of PTV
The health department is set to announce later Monday additional confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Metro Manila and surrounding Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal are under the second strictest quarantine level until Friday, to curb the uptick in infections.
Since last year, the government has amassed a total of USD15.49 billion or approximately P755.32 billion for its COVID-19 response (using an exchange rate of USD1 = P48.75 per DBM).
The Philippines has been slower than some neighbors rolling out vaccines after supply shortages hobbled government efforts to secure millions of doses to inoculate 70 million of its 108 million people this year in a bid to achieve herd immunity.
Last year, the Philippines suffered its worst economic contraction on record last year, when it slumped 9.5 percent, the biggest decline in Southeast Asia.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: