Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said Sunday that the “total health” and welfare of the people are being considered in the response of the government to the current surge in COVID-19 infections in the country, especially in Metro Manila.
“The issue we face now is not economy vs health. It is the total health of the people, whether from COVID, non-COVID sickness, or hunger,” Chua said in a statement.
On Saturday, the Philippines recorded 7,999 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily number since the pandemic reached the country in 2020, raising the cumulative total to 656,056.
As home to a tenth of the country’s total population, Metro Manila accounted for 4,059 of the new infections and has 40,517 active cases, or a little over 50% of the nationwide total.
“We need to continue managing risks as COVID cases rise. We do this by focusing on localized quarantines and addressing the sources of highest risk, so that the jobs/livelihood of the far majority will not be affected,” Chua said.
According to him, the country’s virus cases did not spike during the holidays and when the economy gradually reopened in October.
“It was even on a generally downward trend. This was due to strict compliance with health standards and a gradual and careful approach to reopening,” he added.