Palace: Quarantine helped slow down COVID-19 spread

March 30, 2020

THE monthlong quarantine imposed by the government on the entire island of Luzon has helped to slow the spread of the new coronavirus in the Philippines, Malacañang said on Sunday.

Disputing claims that the lockdown has been ineffective as shown by increasing confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, echoing the Department of Health (DoH), said the rise in new cases was the result of more testing enabled by the acquisition of more testing kits.

“Some quarters expressed the opinion that [the increase in the number] of COVID-19 cases shows [the Luzon quarantine] is ineffective [in curbing the spread of the virus]. We beg to disagree,” Panelo said.

Had the Luzon quarantine not been imposed, he said, the number of coronavirus cases would have been staggering.

“[W]ith unrestricted movement of population, with each individual being a potential carrier, the coronavirus would have an untrammeled leap-frogging from one person to another,” Panelo said.

The DoH reported on Sunday 343 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total to 1,418. It said three more patients had died, raising the death toll to 71. It also reported seven recoveries, bringing the total to 42.

The agency, however, did not say whether the remaining 1,305 were all in Metro Manila or scattered across the country.

Panelo said the smaller number of cases earlier was due to the lack of testing kits. Now, with more testing kits, more people are being tested and “necessarily the hitherto unknown cases of COVID-19 have surfaced, hence the galloping increase in number,” he said.

He gave the assurance, however, that the government is doing everything to “contain, if not permanently halt, the spread of [the coronavirus].”

He said vital medical supplies, including protective equipment and sanitizers, were coming in from local manufacturers and donors.