MANILA - A Department of Health (DOH) official has downplayed the Philippines surpassing mainland China in total number of coronavirus disease cases Wednesday.
Speaking to ABS-CBN's Teleradyo, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said it would be hard to compare both nations due to different reasons.
"Hindi naman. Ang sa China naman ay iba yung sa kanilang datos. Iba 'yung settings nila. 'Yung sa atin, nakakakita tayo ngayon ng pagtaas in specific areas of the country katulad ng National Capital Region," she said.
Pressed again to know the score, Vergeire had this to say, "They have different numbers. They have a different setting. Okay lang naman magkumpara because we are benchmarking pero dapat maintindihan din natin na magkakaiba po tayo ng sistema sa bawat bansa. Iba ang health system ng China. Iba ang health system ng Pilipinas."
To date, the Philippines has logged 85,486 coronavirus since the pandemic began in January.
Meanwhile, the total coronavirus cases in mainland China, where the virus surfaced late last year, stood at 84,060, according to the World Health Organization - Western Pacific Region office.
Coronavirus cases in China's special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau were logged separately.
During the interview, Vergeire attributed the surge in infection to gradual easing of lockdown measures, noncompliance of minimum health standards, and return of stranded individuals to their respective hometowns.
However, she said that the COVID-19 death rate in the country is declining to below 3 percent.
The country has seen more recoveries than fatalities since it recorded its first case of COVID-19 in Jan. 30. As of Wednesday, some 1,962 have succumbed to the disease while 26,996 have been given clean bill of health.
"Hindi tayo kailangan magpa-panic kapag nakakarinig tayo ng malaking numero," she said.
During the interview, Vergeire also pushes for more localized lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 in communities.
"Hindi natin kailangang isara ang buong city para sa isang kalye na merong mga kaso para hindi ma-paralyze ang ating hanapbuhay at nakapag-move around ang tao. In other countries, nag-work po ito," she said.