MAY 29, 2020 — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night said the less than 1,000 people who died from the virulent virus that originated from China is “not bad” considering the country’s large population.
But the popular leader did not mention the death rate is the second highest in Southeast Asia, next to another densely populated country of Indonesia, which has the second highest number of infections. Singapore has the highest number of cases but the death toll is less than 30 people.
Duterte addressed the nation in a televised Cabinet meeting on Thursday, placing the capital region under a general community quarantine for 15 more day until June 15, one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns.
He said the people should not worry too much about the highly contagious respiratory disease as the fatality rate is low despite steady rise in infection.
“You will see that the Philippines, ratio and proportion vis-a-vis with the population… We have a low rate of mortality here in this country,” said Duterte. “All in all, para sa akin, hindi naman masama ito.”
On Thursday, the health department reported the highest single day increase in the number of positive cases at 539, bringing the tally to 15,588. It eclipsed the 538 cases reported on March 31.
The number of people who have recovered from the disease has risen to 3,598 while the death toll stood at 921. The fatality rate is only 5.9 percent, lower than the global average of 6.23 percent.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said more than 90 percent of those who tested positive have mild symptoms and only 2 percent are considered severe cases. About 7.3 percent of the cases are asymptomatic.
Most of the new cases are from the capital region and from Cebu City in the central Philippines. Only 99 cases were reported in the rest of the country.
Duque said the sudden surge in cases reported in a single day is due to the improved capacity of testing laboratories to validate results from earlier screening.
The health department still has a huge backlog. The number of people who tested positive has reached 21,000 but only nearly 16,000 are confirmed positive and about 11,000 are active cases.
Duque also gave assurance the country has sufficient medical capacity at above 60 percent reserve capacity in terms of intensive care units and isolation beds. (Nicole Dacanay / MM)
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