June 29 ------ The Philippines has the fastest-growing number of new COVID-19 cases among over 20 countries and territories in Western Pacific Region, based on the data of World Health Organization since June 16. From June 16 to 28, the total number of new COVID-19 cases in the country was recorded at 9,655, followed by Singapore with 2,610 new cases. Based on the confirmed cases by date of report within the last 30 days, Philippine cases stood out in the WHO’s graph of data. Also, based on the data showing the total confirmed cases of countries plotted against their doubling rate, the trend in the Philippines is actively rising near Singapore.
Asked about a report that the Philippines has the “fastest rise” in COVID-19 cases in the Western Pacific, the Department of Health (DOH) did not directly comment on the matter. However, it pointed out that the Philippines should not be compared with other countries without considering socioeconomic context like population, living conditions, and health system capacity. “Our socioeconomic context, particularly living conditions, as well as health system capacity, even prior to COVID, is different from Singapore,” DOH said in its Facebook post.
“Please take that into account when we do our analysis. Let us not cherry pick the countries we want to compare ourselves to,” it added. DOH noted that Singapore has a population of only 5.9 million, with a total number of cases of 43,246 and the Philippines has 109 million with 34,803 total cases, as of Sunday. “Per 1 million people, Singapore has a higher case at 7,393 cases per 1 million population compared with Philippines at 318 cases per 1 million population,” it added. According to DOH, the localized responses entail early detection of cases and tracing of contacts, their immediate isolation or quarantine, and appropriate testing and treatment.
“We have also addressed the rising critical care utilization through augmentation of equipment and workforce and ensure that we can manage possible surge of cases,” DOH said. “Lastly, we continue to emphasize the implementation of minimum health standards, i.e. wearing of masks and physical distancing, as the most effective preventive measure in the absence of a vaccine,” it added.