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No choice but to reopen economy, says Palace






MALACAÑANG is saddened by the sudden rise of COVID-19 cases in the country over the weekend but said the government had no choice but to relax quarantine measures in order to revitalize the economy.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement yesterday after the number of COVID-19 cases in the country reached 44,254 last Sunday with the Department of Health saying this could be attributed to the relaxed quarantine protocols that allowed the public to interact more with one another.

Roque acknowledged that a lot were probably surprised by the reported figure but said it should not discourage the people in the fight against the pandemic.

“Marami pong kinabahan sa naging ulat na ito na maging kami ay nalungkot nang una naming narinig ito. Ngunit hindi po tayo dapat panghinaan ng loob. Tuloy po ang laban,” he said.

According to Roque, the positivity rate of COVID-19 cases in the country is at 7.3 percent and is still at the benchmark of the World Health Organization. “Kaya naniniwala po tayo na malalampasan po natin ito,” he said.

However, Roque said the government had no choice but to reopen the economy after a three-month standstill despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

“Tingin ko po wala naman tayong alternatibo kundi magbukas talaga ng ekonomiya,” he said. “Kung hindi pa natin mabubuksan, eh baka mamaya, buhay nga tayo, mamamatay naman tayo dahil wala tayong hanapbuhay. Tinitignan natin ‘yung balanse,” he added.

Despite the need to jumpstart the economy, Roque said Metro Manila, which is now under the general community quarantine, may still revert to the enhanced community quarantine if the situation worsens. “Hindi ko naman sinasabi ‘yan dahil kung lumala talaga, wala po tayong alternatibo,” he said.

Roque reminded the public to follow quarantine protocols and observe minimum health standards and proper hygiene like wearing of face masks and proper handwashing.

He belied reports that Metro Manila hospitals have reached full capacity and are no longer admitting COVID-19 patients.

“’Yung mga kumakalat na fake news na ubos na raw po ang mga hospital beds ng ating mga hospital, hindi po ‘yan totoo,” he said.

He said the DoH has met medical directors of all hospitals in Metro Manila and they agreed that the allotted 30 percent bed capacity of each hospital has not been breached yet.