Palace admits gov't became slow initially in addressing pandemic
Malacañang admitted on Thursday the government had become slow in conducting expanded testing for possible coronavirus cases.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the admission when asked in a virtual press briefing of the government's possible lapses in addressing the health crisis.
"So, we are admitting that we were a bit slow in the processing during the past (first) two months.We only had one testing facility, the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine)," he said.
He said that it was only in March that the government was able to establish more testing laboratories.
"So, if I were to look back and what we could have done better, perhaps the time we had the first imported case of COVID, we should have already expanded our testing capacity," Roque added.
The first two COVID-19 cases in the country and were reported in Janaury involved a Chinese couple.
Currently, there are 74 COVID-19 laboratories in the country.
Meanwhile, Roque explained a "Hammer-and-Dance Theory," which is being used by the government to fight COVID-19.
He said the hammer pertains to the government's decision of enforcing a lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus and the need to tap people to treat the infection.
The dance, on the other hand, pertains to the effort to reduce the COVID-19 cases and the gradual opening up of the economy, he said.
In lowering the number of cases, he said the government should do expanded testing, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation.
Roque said the government would further strengthen its test, trace and treat effort.
"Just wait for the details but aside from the 10 million that we have already ordered and the one million PCR testing (kits), which have already been delivered, there will be a more expanded targeted testing that will be announced in the coming days," he said.
As of July 9, the Philippines' total COVID-19 cases soared to 51,754, with 37,627 "active cases" and 12,813 recoveries. The death toll remained at 1,314 as there was no reported death. Celerina Monte/DMS