MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday admitted that the decision of Philippine Red Cross to temporarily halt its coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing somehow contributed to a decrease in daily Covid-19 cases.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, also attributed the lower daily Covid-19 cases to Filipinos’ compliance with the minimum health and safety standards.
“Well, I’m sure somehow the acts or the action of PRC in stopping their testing, somehow contributed, because less testing of course means less numbers. But I think by and large, people have been compliant with minimum health standards and of course,” he said in an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source.
Roque said no less than President Rodrigo Duterte has endorsed the wearing of face masks, washing of hands, and physical distancing in an advertisement.
“I think people know by now, what to do to prevent the further spread of the disease and they have been cooperating. I think people know that they need to observe minimum health standards so that they can go back to work and earn their livelihoods,” he added.
Earlier, he said PRC accounts for one-fourth of the country’s testing capacity, which means its decision to stop testing could hamper testing efforts.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), the country saw a 25-percent decrease in new Covid-19 cases last month from an average number of 2,517 to 1,887.
Last month, the PRC temporarily stopped its Covid-19 tests for the government after the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) failed to settle its outstanding balance of PHP930.99 million.
The PRC has been receiving samples of returning overseas Filipino workers, those arriving in airports and seaports, those in mega swabbing facilities, and front-line health and government workers.
The humanitarian organization resumed its full Covid-19 testing for the government after PhilHealth settled half of its debt.
President Duterte also repeatedly assured that the PhilHealth will pay its debts to the PRC.
As of Tuesday, health authorities logged 385,400 confirmed Covid-19 cases, of which 7,269 are deaths while 348,830 are recoveries. (PNA)