Palace admits early lapses in response to pandemic
Malacañang on Thursday admitted that the government should have immediately expanded its capacity to test for the coronavirus when the Philippines recorded its first case from outside transmission on January 30.
“If I were to look back [it is] what we could have done better,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said when asked what he thought were the government’s lapses in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The process was slow at first … But as you can see, we quickly increased [the number of] our testing laboratories,” he said.
Four months after the government imposed lockdowns to prevent the transmission of the virus, the number of accredited testing laboratories grew to 78, he said.
Aside from boosting its test, trace and treat strategy, the government has also set aside P4.99 million for a study on convalescent blood plasma as a therapy for COVID-19, Roque said.
The study involves plasma from the blood of recovered patients, which contain neutralizing antibodies against the virus.President Duterte had previously called on COVID-19 survivors to donate their blood to help treat those suffering from the illness.
Roque also denied that the government was downplaying the possible long-term effects of the virus in mild or asymptomatic patients.
Despite the continued rise in COVID-19 cases, Malacañang has repeatedly stressed that majority of the cases are mild or asymptomatic, and that only a few are severe or critical cases.
On Thursday, Roque presented a graph which showed that 5.6 percent of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic, while 93.7 percent of cases are mild. The graph showed that .6 percent are severe, while .1 percent of the cases are critical.
However, studies by foreign researchers showed emerging evidence that even mild or asymptomatic patients may suffer long-term debilitating effects from the disease, including extreme fatigue, intermittent fevers and concentration issues.
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