Malacañang said Wednesday the surge in COVID-19 cases happens worldwide and not just in the Philippines.
‘It’s not just happening in the Philippines. Let’s not have this wrong cue that, ‘Uy, the Philippines is having this many increase in cases.’ It’s happening in 70% of the planet right now,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview with CNN, Philippines.
The Palace official cited a Nikkei Asian Review report on August 2 that 126 countries and regions or about 70% of the world are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 infections.
On Tuesday, the country again broke its own record of the highest number of new cases in one day after the health department reported 6,352 new COVID-19 infections, making the total to 112, 593.
And on Thursday, the Philippines topped the South East Asian countries in virus cases, overtaking Indonesia with a total of 115,980 cases as of August 6.
Roque said a more infectious strain of coronavirus caused the spike in cases.
“Now overseas, they have confirmed that it has mutated, it has become far more infectious, five times more infectious. We don’t know yet scientifically if it has come to our shores, but most likely it has. It’s a matter of time, perhaps,” he said.
“But it’s a reality that everyone on this planet will have to face. And despite what the political opposition says, as I said, it’s not just in the Philippines where it’s happening, it’s worldwide.”
Roque said the country should be more aggressive in contact tracing, testing, and isolation of cases.
“I think we are heading the right direction because we did not spare any expense. We open as many labs as we could at unprecedented time,” he said. “And we are opening more because we are not satisfied with the current testing.”
According to the Department of Health, the Philippines has so far tested 1.52 million people for the deadly virus.
A doctor earlier said the use of the rapid test kits to screen employees returning to work led to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Dr. Antonio Dans of the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine said rapid tests were giving people a false sense of security.