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Palace: 40,000 cases off mark; experts disagree

A Palace spokesman on Tuesday crowed that the country has defined a University of the Philippines prediction that there would be 40,000 COVID-19 infections by the end of June.

Raising his fist in celebration after learning the month-end tally fell below the UP projection, presidential spokesman Harry Roque exclaimed: “We beat the UP prediction. We beat it so congratulations, Philippines! Let’s do it again in July.”

Roque’s congratulations came as the country posted the second highest number of new cases of COVID-19 in a single day on Tuesday.

The Department of Health reported 1,080 more infections, 858 “fresh” and 22 that were reported “late,” bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 37,514.

READ: Virus cases top 35K; Pampanga raises alarm

The death toll climbed to 1,266 with 11 new fatalities, the DOH reported.

The DOH said total recoveries also rose to 10,233 after 277 more patients recovered from the respiratory illness.

The new cases reported on Tuesday are the second-highest since June 23’s 1,150 new infections.

READ: Friday ‘fresh’ tally bloats cases to 34K

This also marks the highest number of fresh cases recorded in a single day.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the new cases reported on Tuesday were only based on reports from 57 out of 67 licensed laboratories.

Four duplicates were removed from the total tally of infections.

Among the fresh cases, 158 are from Metro Manila, 430 are from Region VII (Central Visayas), while the remaining 270 are spread out across the country.

Among the late cases, 45 are from Metro Manila, 38 are from Region VII, while the 139 other patients came from various areas nationwide.

As of June 28, the Philippines has 53 certified polymerase chain reaction facilities and 19 GeneXpert laboratories that have tested a total of 653,656 individuals.

Meanwhile, 1,300 or 34.92 percent of intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients are currently occupied while 1,950 or 23.23 percent of mechanical ventilators are in use.

Roque said the government was ready for the worst in its fight against COVID-19.

He offered this assurance after the World Health Organization said the worst is yet to come as the pandemic speeds up.

“We were ready and remain ready [for the worst],” Roque said.

As part of the government’s continuing efforts to contain COVID-19, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the proposal to revisit strategies in combating the new coronavirus disease, Roque said.

“We will boost people’s confidence to go back to work. We will also boost consumer demand. How? Through expanded targeted testing,” he said.

Roque said the government is also accelerating the country’s testing capacity by end of July to aid in achieving a positivity rate of 3 percent.

He said there would also be consultations with local government units on the easing of quarantine restrictions.

Roque also reiterated his appeal to the public to heed the government’s quarantine rules by following strict physical distancing, using face masks, and observing proper hygiene.

He warned that quarantine violators would face “heavy punishment.”

The UP professors who projected 40,000 cases by the end of June said the final tally was well within their margin of error, telling a TV interview that the estimate was not ver far off.

“For me it’s just semantics. We are not at 30,000 or at 50,000,” UP math professor Guido David said on GMA’s Unang Hirit proram. “More or less it’s about the same.”

Senators, meanwhile, disputed the Palace claim that the country was winning against COVID-19.

Senator Panfilo Lacson said the claim was nothing more than the government patting itself on the back.

Opposition Senator Francis Pangilinan also expressed disbelief at the Palace pronouncement.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, who also belongs to the opposition, questioned the government's claim and called on authorities to be honest about the real COVID-19 situation in the country.

"We will not win against this pandemic if we are not being honest with ourselves," Hontiveros said.

“How are we ‘winning’ when we have over 36,000 COVID-19 cases, when we have 7.3 million jobless Filipinos, and when we do not support and protect our doctors and health workers enough," she asked.

"To ‘win’ against COVID-19, first we need to be honest,” she added. With PNA

READ: PH death rate declining but new cases up

Topics: Harry Roque , Department of Health , COVID-19 , Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases , Palace , University of the Philippines
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