Malacañang on Friday dismissed as false the reports that the Philippines is Southeast Asia’s new COVID-19 epicenter after overtaking Indonesia as the country with the highest number of cases in the region.
READ: PH cases near 120,000, top Indonesia tally
Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the higher numbers were due to the government’s aggressive testing and tracing efforts.
He said the Philippines had already conducted tests covering 1.64 million people or 1.5 percent of its population of 110 million while Indonesia’s COVID-19 tests reached only 0.34 percent (908,000) of its population of 273 million.
“it’s not true that we have more cases than Indonesia. The country’s testing capacity is three times more advanced than Indonesia’s ability to conduct tests for COVID-19 daily,” Roque said.
Roque said the Philippines can conduct an average of 28,938 COVID-19 tests per day, higher than Indonesia’s 14,921 tests per day.
Roque assured the public that the government would continue to push for measures that would help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
President Duterte on Aug. 4 reimposed the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite to contain the spread of the virus.
Health workers had warned that the country was "waging a losing battle" against the coronavirus as cases spiked after restrictions were relaxed in June.
READ: PH cases hit 115,980, briefly highest in SEA
READ: 4,000 deaths go unrecorded in official tally—ex-adviser