DOF: Gov’t measures helped in preventing 1.3M to 3.5M COVID infections
MANILA, Philippines — Steps taken by the government including the strict lockdown measures helped prevent at least 1.3 to 3.5 million coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said Wednesday.
In a pre-State of the Nation Address forum, Dominguez called the pandemic a “black swan event,” which he said the government faced head-on.
“According to the epidemiological models by FASSSTER Project in April and the University of the Philippines COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team as of June 27, government interventions such as the lockdown helped prevented as much as 1.3 to 3.5 million infections,” Dominguez said.
In mid-March, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire island of Luzon, which is home to around half the country’s total population, under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) just days after a botched attempt to limit the movement of the people living and working inside Metro Manila.
The lockdown has since been eased with Metro Manila staying under general community quarantine.
Dominguez noted that imposing ECQ “not only slowed the virus spread” but also gave the country ample time to expand its testing capacity.
“From just around 300 (tests a day) capacity in March, our capacity grew to 18,141 average daily tests at the start of this month,” he said.
Although the lockdown amplified the pandemic’s effect on the economy, Dominguez noted that “signs of recovery are emerging” with the Customs able to collect more duties and factories seeing higher utilization rates following the relaxation of quarantine measures.
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