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‘I congratulated the people, not gov’t efforts’: Roque

By: Krissy Aguilar - INQUIRER.net July 01,2020 - 10:24 AM

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday clarified that he was congratulating the Filipino people and not the government efforts when he declared that the country beat a coronavirus forecast.

Roque, during his online briefing Tuesday, congratulated the Philippines for “beating” the prediction of researchers from the University of the Philippines (UP) that the country would have 40,000 COVID-19 cases by June 30, by having just under 37,000 cases.

On Tuesday afternoon, the cases further soared to 37,514 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported over a thousand new infections.

Roque, however, dismissed the backlash on social media.

“I was congratulating the people, not the government efforts. Because in the end, it’s the people that will determine how fast the disease will spread,” Roque said in an interview over ANC.

Roque explained that the people are not helpless against the disease if they would practice minimum health standards like wearing masks and observing physical distancing.

“The Department of Health has said that wearing masks will reduce the probability of getting COVID by as much as 85 percent. The social distancing will reduce the probability of getting it by 80 percent… We are not as powerless as we think against the diseases even if there is no vaccine or cure to the disease as of yet,” Roque said.

“It’s a small victory, but still a victory, which means that through behavioral change, we can prevail over the disease,” he went on.

Roque said that the people should be encouraged to try to beat the COVID-19 forecasts. “If the forecast is 60 to 70 (thousand) on July 31, we should all strive to reduce it as much as possible,” he said.

A new study from UP earlier projected that COVID-19 infections in the country may reach 60,000 by July 31. / EDV

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