MANILA - If the Philippine government did not implement lockdowns in its different regions, the coronavirus crisis in the country would have been worse, according to Malacañang.
Citing studies by the University of the Philippines, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that if the national government did not place Metro Manila and other regions under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), over 3 million cases of COVID-19 would have been recorded in the country.
Officials of the Philippine inter-agency focused on the coronavirus response last March placed Metro Manila, Calabarzon and other regions under ECQ after cases of the deadly illness rapidly rose.
"Kung hindi po tayo nag-lockdown, kung hindi tayo gumawa lahat ng hakbang, ang estimate po ng UP kung hindi tayo nag-ECQ ay meron po sanang 3.6 milyon na ka-tao ang nagkasakit," Roque said in a public briefing aired early Wednesday.
(If we didn't place lockdowns, if we didn't make all of the necessary steps, the UP estimated that if we didn't have the ECQ there would've been 3.6 million people infected.)
Roque added that despite the continuous rise of coronavirus cases, the Philippines could've faced worse without the lockdown.
The Palace official earlier faced ridicule and public criticism after saying the country has beaten a UP prediction that there would be 40,000 COVID-19 cases by the end of June. At least 36,438 infections were recorded in the country by the end of that month.
To date, the country has logged more than 47,000 cases of the deadly disease with 1,309 fatalities, based on official tally.
Roque also called out reports of the country's supposed lack of hospital space for coronavirus patients as fake news, saying that more than 50 percent of quarantine beds are available for newly infected individuals.
"Ang quarantine bed capacity po natin wala pa pong kalahati. Ibig sabihin habang nagbubukas po tayo ng ekonomiya, meron tayong sapat na quarantine beds sa paglalagyan ng mga nagkakasakit," he said.
(More than half of our quarantine bed capacity is still available. It means that while we are still re-opening our economy, we have enough quarantine beds for those who will be infected.)
Last June, Metro Manila and other regions shifted to the relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) to help the Philippine economy run again after nearly 3 months of strict lockdown, that severely hit trade and income in the country.
Under the GCQ, more business establishments and public transportation units were allowed to re-operate again under conditions relating to COVID-19 policies.