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Philippine president appeals for support, cooperation in fight against COVID-19

Post Time:2020-07-28 13:57:02

MANILA, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday stressed the need to strengthen cooperation and support in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic amid its rapid rise in the Southeast Asian country.

During his national address, Duterte said the government needs the support and cooperation of the people if it is to succeed in battling the highly-infectious disease.

"It jolted us to realize that gains made after spending so much planning, effort, cost and time could diminish considerably and quickly for reasons beyond one's anticipation; that it is much easier to destroy than to build; that in a crisis of national proportions that affects every aspect of human life, governments need to have the support and cooperation of the people if it is to succeed in battling the cause of that crisis, that there are people who ask for compassion but show none themselves; that life, after all, is fickle like the weather," he said.

"The gains we achieved in the first three and a half years were put to a test when the pandemic suddenly struck the global community."

When the pandemic struck, Duterte said he decided "to prioritize life over other considerations."

In mid-March, the Philippines imposed a lockdown in Metro Manila and other major urban centers to curb the spread of the virus. However, the strict quarantine restrictions have been eased in some parts of the country to restart the economy since June.

"The intervention which the government had put in place prevented as many as 1.3 to 3.5 million infections," he added.

Duterte said the government was correct in ramping up its testing capacity.

"We now have 93 accredited testing laboratories nationwide and we are aiming to conduct 1.4 million tests by end of July," he said.

The Department of Health has said that around 1.2 million people have been tested since the outbreak.

From 300 daily tests in March, the health department said it can now conduct 24,000 tests daily. The government aims to test 10 million people or about a tenth of the population by 2021.

The Philippines now has 82,040 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 1,945 deaths and 26,446 recoveries.

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