Robredo: If Asian neighbors can beat COVID-19 without vaccine, so can we
MANILA, Philippines — If other countries in the Asia Pacific region were able to beat the COVID-19 pandemic without the aid of vaccines, then the Philippines can also do it according to Vice President Leni Robredo.
Speaking in her latest public address about the health crisis on Monday, Robredo explained that the government can start targeting goals per month, with the aspiration of lowering and eventually suppressing the coronavirus transmissions.
“Wala akong duda na kaya rin nating maabot ang nangyari sa labingsiyam na bansang nagtagumpay laban sa pandemya ayon sa Lancet study […] Malinaw sa akin kung ano ang nagtatahi sa kanila: Naniwala sila sa datos, sa agham, at sa mga eksperto,” she said.
(I have no doubt that we can also accomplish what was achieved by the 19 countries that were, according to the Lancet study, successful in the fight against COVID […] The similarities that weave them together are clear to us: They believe in data, science, and experts.)
“Alinsunod sa international standards, puwedeng targetin na bago matapos ang Oktubre, mas mababa na sa 5% ang positivity rate at siguraduhing hindi lalampas sa 1 ang reproduction rate ng virus,” she added. “Hindi mahirap magkaroon ng monitoring mechanism para dito; at hindi rin kalabisang hilingin na mabigyan ang publiko ng regular na update kung nasaan na tayo relative to these goals.”
(In line with international standards, we can target, by the end of October, a positivity rate of below 5% and a virus reproduction rate does not exceed 1. Neither is it difficult to create a monitoring mechanism for this, nor is it too much to ask that the public be given regular updates on where we stand relative to these goals.)
Robredo was again referring to the Lancet COVID-19 Commission findings where 19 countries were found to have successfully suppressed the COVID-19 transmissions including Philippine neighbors Taiwan, which bagged the top spot; Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Myanmar, Malaysia, New Zealand, and South Korea.
The Philippines on the other hand ranked 66th out of the 91 countries, despite being physically separated by waters from China — the source of the COVID-19 pandemic — unlike Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
The country’s total confirmed COVID-19 infections is at 307,288 as of Monday, with 49,242 of these cases considered active, 252,665 recovered. The death toll is currently at 5,284.
The Vice President noted that the countries mentioned were able to beat the pandemic because their leaders were open to suggestions, and shunned political mindsets in favor of a better public health.
She also stressed that these countries were able to beat COVID-19 while waiting for the vaccines to arrive — contrary to beliefs by administration officials including President Rodrigo Duterte himself, that the only way to beat the virus is through a vaccine.
“Ididiin ko: Nagtagumpay laban sa virus ang labingsiyam na bansa, kabilang na ang sampu sa ating mga kapitbahay, kahit wala pang gamot, at kahit wala pang bakuna,” Robredo emphasized.
(Let me emphasize: Nineteen nations gained success against the virus, including 10 of our neighbors, even without a cure, and even without a vaccine.)
“Naging bukas sila sa kaalaman at mga kaisipan, saan man ito magmula; nagplano sila nang maigi; mabilis at coordinated ang kilos ng gobyerno nila. Naging tapat sila sa pakikitungo sa kanilang mamamayan. Isinantabi nila ang politika. Nakipagtulungan sila,” she explained.
(They are open to knowledge and ideas wherever these may come from; they planned properly; their governments acted quickly and in a coordinated manner. They were honest and straightforward in dealing with their citizens. They set aside politics. They cooperated and helped each other.)
Earlier, Robredo clarified that she and her office have no intentions of undermining the government, because she believes that the failure of the government would impact a lot of Filipinos badly.
This clarification came after she was slammed by administration supporters for allegedly over-criticizing the government, as President Duterte himself implied that she has pointed out things whether they do something or not.
During a separate public address last September 21, Duterte sarcastically invited Robredo to spray pesticide over the country to eradicate the virus to stress the point that only vaccines could end the pandemic.
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