PH COVID response in right direction: Duque

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    AMID a continuous increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III yesterday said the Philippines is in the right direction as far as responding to the pandemic is concerned.

    In a TV interview, Duque said government believes it has drastically improved in its response despite the Philippines being among 20 countries with the highest number of cases.

    “According to the Octa Research Group, there has been flattening of the curve. But it is not at the very low point, not yet to a level that is significant,” he said. “(But) we’re heading towards the right direction,” he added.

    Duque said the country has significantly improved the capacity of the health system for a possible surge in COVID-19 cases, with a total of 165,000 beds for isolation and quarantine of patients.

    Duque also noted the country’s death rate is low, at 1.79 percent case fatality rate, making the Philippines third among 20 countries with the lowest deaths.

    He also said the country is doing “fairly okay” in terms of recovery rate with about 85 percent of patients having recovered.

    “We are doing okay… We just have to look at it at a much broader perspective,” said Duque.

    As of October 5, the Philippines has 324,762 COVID cases, including 5,840 deaths and 273,123 recoveries.

    Last Friday, the Philippines entered the Top 20 countries with the most number of COVID-19 cases in the world, according to the John Hopkins University’s virus tracker.

    Meanwhile, the DOH received health equipment from the World Health Organization.

    Acting WHO Country Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe turned over gowns (230,900 pieces), KN95 masks (405,000), face shields (187,800), goggles (159,540), surgical masks (552,000), and at least 350 units of oxygen concentrators, a medical device used for breathing-related disorders caused by low oxygen concentration in the blood.

    Duque expressed gratitude to WHO’s continued support to the Philippines’ COVID-19 response.