Roque: Dance with COVID-19 not literal, refers to hammer and dance theory
Alexis Romero ( - July 9, 2020 - 6:36pm

MANILA, Philippines — After being ridiculed for his remark about "dancing" along with the pandemic, presidential spokesman Harry Roque explained Thursday that his statement was not literal and that he was referring to a theory on the virus that went viral online.

Roque said he was alluding to the Hammer and Dance Theory, which was proposed by French-Spanish writer and engineer Tomas Pueyo.

"Many were asking why I mentioned dancing along COVID-19 (coronavorus disease 2019). That's not literal, come on. Many did not get what I was saying. I became the  subject of memes and my Tiktok videos were revived," Roque said at a press briefing.

"We have what is now called the hammer and dance theory on how we are fighting COVID," he added.

Roque said hammer refers to the government's decision to impose a lockdown to reduce the spread of the virus. It also involves the recruitment of health personnel to treat those who were infected by the virus, he added. Roque said dance refers to the reopening of the economy once the threat of the disease is reduced. To do this, there should be proper testing, contract tracing, quarantine and isolation.

"We will also have public education on hygiene and social distancing. We will continue to ban gatherings although in MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) areas, up to 50 percent capacity (of the venues) may be filled up," Roque said, referring to the most lenient quarantine scenario.

In his online article "Coronavirus: The Hammer And The Dance," Pueyo said governments should implement strict measures to contain the virus until a vaccine is developed. He said measures like contact tracing and quarantine of infected persons should continue even if countries ease lockdowns.

"As the economy reopens... the responsibility will go to LGUs (local government units). They will impose the local lockdown. The private sector will handle information drive, strict enforcement and testing of their employees. The people should wear masks and observe social distancing," Roque said.

Last month, Roque drew flak when he said that the Philippines had "won" because the number of COVID-19 cases in the country did not reach 40,000 by the end of June as predicted by University of the Philippines (UP) experts. He later on clarified that UP is not the enemy and that he was just telling the public that they can do something to contain the virus. 

The Philippines now has more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases. 

At the same briefing, Roque said the government has allocated P4.99 million for the clinical studies on convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19. The Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and the UP - Philippine General Hospital is undertaking a project, which aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of convalescent plasma transfusion as adjunctive therapy to prevent disease progression among patients. 

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