Palace disputes lancet report on âmedical populismâ
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque countered a report by leading international medical journal Lancet, which ranked the Philippines 66th out of 91 countries in suppressing COVID-19, partly due to Duterte’s “medical populism.”
AFP/Ted Aljibe
Palace disputes lancet report on ‘medical populism’
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - September 24, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang denounced yesterday reports that the Philippine government is “suppressing” the coronavirus disease 2019 due to the “medical populist” stance of President Duterte.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque countered a report by leading international medical journal Lancet, which ranked the Philippines 66th out of 91 countries in suppressing COVID-19, partly due to Duterte’s “medical populism.”

The Lancet defined suppression of COVID-19 as having five or fewer new cases per million population per day in August.

“The President, together with the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), has met the challenges of COVID-19 head-on, with science and hard data guiding the Chief Executive’s decisions and actions, contrary to the ‘medical populism’ leadership style issue raised by some quarters,” Roque said.

“The Duterte administration has put in place concrete interventions to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, which includes ramping up the country’s testing capacity, enhancing contact tracing efforts and scaling up of local health system capacity, especially for community isolation and critical care,” he said.

Roque also stressed that the government’s approach is “whole-of-government and whole-of-society,” where every sector from public health to economics has been consulted.

The government has a strategy under the National Action Plan to “ensure that the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is addressed,” he said.

In a study published on Sept. 14, The Lancet ranked 91 countries based on incidence or the number of new cases per million population per day and assessed mortality rates, tests performed, and effective reproduction rates.

The Lancet COVID-19 Commission classified the Philippines as having “moderate transmission” with 37.5 new infections and 0.5 new deaths per million per day.

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