More Filipinos in danger if COVID-19 cases underreported – Robredo
MANILA, Philippines – The speculation that the Department of Health has been underreporting COVID-19 cases — if true — would be more harmful to people in the country, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday.
According to Robredo, she hopes that the Department of Health (DOH) is being truthful to its statements, as it would be dangerous if the people are not aware of the true situation.
“I hope it’s not true because underreporting would only expose Filipinos to more danger,” Robredo told reporters in Filipino about the remark of Sen. Panfilo Lacson that the DOH might have been underreporting on COVID-19 cases.
“What’s important here is that you know where the incidence is because the COVID-19 transmissions are very fast,” she added. “It’s very important to be transparent. We saw what they did in Taiwan, how transparency has helped them to prevent the spread of more cases. There are best practices. We hope that the government follows those steps.”
Last Saturday, Lacson speculated that DOH might have been underreporting, albeit unintentionally, about the incidence of COVID-19, formerly known as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV).
He said that this might happen because the country’s health facilities for testing possible COVID-19 patients were not enough to take on the sheer number of the Philippine population.
Recently, two individuals who traveled to the Philippines but were not quarantined tested positive for the COVID-19 on arrival in Australia and in Taiwan.
The Douglas County government in Colorado also reported that two United States-based students who had traveled to the Philippines had the COVID-19 when they returned.
As of this writing, there are six COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, including the first local transmission case between an elderly couple in the country.
This has forced DOH to raise the code red sublevel 1 alert, which means that health facilities should be ready for a rise in the number of cases.
Worldwide, there are now 105,799 reported cases and 3,598 deaths, with most of the incidents and casualties coming from China, the place of origin of the virus.
Amid these issues, Robredo also handed out several concerns that the government would need to address — like the possibility of increasing the number of testing sites, the provision of an expense-free treatment, and the readiness of local and district health centers.
“A lot of things need to be fixed. As of now, only one government hospital has the capability to test. They are looking at four other hospitals that may be capable of testing. They told us that testing would take around 24 to 48 hours. If they can, maybe they should shorten the testing time because immediate results are important,” Robredo said.
“The next question is: Is testing free? Because if it’s not free, it may be a reason why people avoid testing. So these are the things that the public should know as soon as possible,” she added.
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