MANILA -- The Philippines is "able to take care" of its coronavirus patients, Malacañang said Friday, after the country's infection caseload became the world's 20th highest.
The health department as of Thursday confirmed 314,079 COVID-19 infections, making the Philippines the top 20th country with the most cases of the respiratory disease, according to the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) coronavirus dashboard.
With 5,562 deaths, the country's mortality rate is at around 1.75, "which means that although numbers are up, we are able to take care of those who get severely or critically ill," said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.
"That’s what I think matters most because in a pandemic, the fear is many of us will die. Some are dying, not as many as other countries, and of course it’s because we have improved our critical care capacity and we have of course, learned from the past. We know how to take care of COVID patients better," he told CNN Philippines.
The Philippines as of Thursday has tested some 3.5 million people for the novel coronavirus, about half a year since the pandemic prompted varying degrees of lockdown that left millions jobless and dragged the economy into recession.
The public can get tested for P1,750 to P2,000 at the Children’s Medical Hospital, Lung Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and Perpertual Help Medical Center in Las Piñas, said Roque.
"I’m appealing to those who received free machines and free testing kits: mahiya naman kayo. Ibinigay na nga sa inyo nang libre tapos kinakana pa n’yo ang taongbayan," he added.
(Have some shame. You got that for free, yet you will abuse the people.)