Palace stressed on Monday that the government was not to blame for the spike in COVID-19 infections, as the Philippines marked the first anniversary of its pandemic lockdown.
On Saturday, the Philippines reported its largest single-day upsurge of coronavirus cases in more than 6 months and its first case of the highly contagious variant from Brazil. The health department previously detected COVID-19 variants from South Africa and Britain.
“Iyong kumpirmasyon na nasa Pilipinas na iyong mga bagong variants at itong mga bagong variants ay mas nakakahawa, ito’y isa sa mga dahilan ng surge—hindi po dahil palpak ang gobyerno,” said Malacañang spokesperson Harry Roque, who also recently tested positive for COVID-19.
The hashtag #DutertePalpak or “sloppy” trended in social media sites over the weekend.
The country now has 229 COVID-19 testing laboratories, up from only one facility early last year. Authorities have set up 10,000 isolation facilities, up one last year, claimed Roque.
Roque said in a briefing that the fatality rate from COVID-19 of the Philippines remains lower than other countries.
“Excellent naman po talaga tayo sa handling, until this month of March kung saan sumipa ang mga kaso ng COVID,” he said.
Roque also said the upsurge cannot be attributed to the reopening of the economy.
“Huwag po nating sisihin iyong ating pagbubukas ng ekonomiya,” he pleaded.
“I don’t think anyone should be blamed. Kaya nga lang po, it’s the nature of viruses to mutate. Let’s just be thankful that it has mutated in a way na mas nakakahawa siya, pero hindi po mas nakakamatay,” he added.