The worst of the COVID-19 crisis is over, Palace says
File photo shows presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
The STAR/Joven Cagande
The worst of the COVID-19 crisis is over, Palace says
Bella Perez-Rubio ( - September 16, 2020 - 4:36pm

MANILA, Philippines — Just two days after the country logged a record-high number of deaths due to COVID-19, Malacañang said the worst of the pandemic-induced crisis is over.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said this during a Laging Handa briefing aired Wednesday on state-run PTV when he was asked about a Social Weather Stations survey which found that 57% of Filipinos think the worst of the pandemic-induced crisis is still to come. 

READ: More than half of Filipinos believe worst of COVID-19 pandemic has yet to come — SWS

"I understand the pessimism of our countrymen because the situation is really difficult now. But all I can say is the worst is over," he said in English and Filipino.  

"We only hit rock bottom because we closed the economy," he added in Filipino, referring to the country's worst economic slump under a democracy recorded in August. 

Another survey released by SWS in August also logged record-high unemployment at 45.5%.

READ: National survey logs record-high unemployment in July

Despite this, Roque met the anxieties of over half the country by urging them to learn to live with the virus while a vaccine is not yet available. 

"That's why our call to everyone, we can live while COVID is still here, because while there is no vaccine, no medicine, the pandemic will continue for longer," he said in Filipino.

He further enjoined Filipinos to take care of their health so that they could continue to earn a living amid the pandemic. 

While a significant number of businesses have been allowed to reopen, the country is still under varying forms of community quarantine which have persisted for 183 days now. 

A survey conducted by shows that almost a fifth of Filipinos — around 14.2 million people— still do not have access to face masks, a fundamental stopgap to the spread of the disease which is required by the COVID-19 task force. 

READ: Some 13% of Filipinos do not own a face mask, survey suggests

Latest Department of Health data places the Philippines' COVID-19 caseload at 272,934, the highest in Southeast Asia, despite the fact that the country is also enforcing the longest community quarantine in the region. 

On Monday, DOH reported a record-high number of additional deaths at 259 and the total number of fatalities as of Wednesday stands at 4,732.

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