Malacañang Palace today disputed the data of the World Health Organization (WHO) which showed that the Philippines has the fastest-growing number of COVID-19 cases in the Western Pacific region.
From June 17 to 23, there were 5,044 new cases in the Philippines, the highest among 19 countries in the region. However, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in his regular virtual media briefing that the number should be computed while taking into consideration the population of a given country.
“The WHO said we have the fastest-growing number of cases in the entire Western Pacific region. Is this true? We beg to disagree. Of course, when we look at the increase in [coronavirus] cases it has to be in relation to your population. Why should we be compared to Singapore when Singapore only has 5 million people?” Roque said.
Roque said based on the government’s own computation, if the cases were divided on a per million population basis, India will rank on top, followed by Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines in sixth place.
But the presidential spokesman needs to fact-check his own presentation: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia are not categorized by the WHO as Western Pacific countries. India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh are under South-east Asia while Pakistan is classified as Eastern Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said today in an interview with cable channel ANC that it was natural for COVID-19 cases to increase because of the Philippines’ supposedly greater testing capacity.
The Department of Health yesterday reported that there are 34,803 COVID-19 cases in the country, with 1,236 deaths and 9,430 recoveries.
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