MANILA - The Department of Health on Sunday clarified a report that the rise of new coronavirus cases in the Philippines was fastest in the Western Pacific region.
The agency was referring to an Inquirer.net article that cited data from the World Health Organization, which showed that the Philippines reported 8,143 new cases since June 16, a day after it eased lockdown rules, followed by Singapore with 2,351 cases.
The country has 34,803 cases out of a population of 109 million, compared with Singapore's 43,246 cases out of its 5.9 million population, the DOH said in a statement.
"Per 1 million people, Singapore has a higher case at 7,393 cases compared with the Philippines at 318 cases per 1 million population," it said.
"Our socioeconomic context, particularly living conditions, as well as health system capacity, even prior to COVID, is different from Singapore. Please take that into account when we do our analysis. Let us not cherry pick the countries we want to compare ourselves to."
State agencies are tasked to strengthen response in emerging hotspots by early detection of cases, tracing of contacts, their immediate isolation, followed by testing and treatment, according to the DOH.
"We have also addressed the rising critical care utilization through augmentation of equipment and workforce and ensure that we can manage possible surge of cases," it said.
"Lastly, we continue to emphasize the implementation of minimum health standards, (e.g.) wearing of masks and physical distancing, as the most effective preventive measure in the absence of a vaccine," it added.
The Philippines on Saturday reported 738 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, raising the total to 34,803. It has so far tallied 9,430 recoveries and 1,236 deaths.