The Philippines’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic is better compared to other countries, according to an adviser to the country’s pandemic task force on Thursday (March 25). 

Special consultant to the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) Dr. Ted Herbosa said the country has done a good job in its response to the health crisis. 

He notes the Philippines is not in the top 10 countries with the highest COVID-19 cases at the moment. However, he shared the country is in the top 30. 

“We’ve done a fairly good job. We are number 30 in the number of cases of countries. At least we are not in the top 10,” Herbosa remarked in an interview with ANC

Furthermore, Herbosa notes that even though the Philippines is among the top countries in South East Asia when it comes to cases of COVID-19, the government has managed to keep death rates and new infections low. 

“We are the only country also in Southeast Asia that has so much overseas Filipino workers that has actually introduced the variants and caused our second wave,” he said. 

When asked about calls to abolish the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) over claims of its failure in responding to the pandemic, Herbosa says ‘it’s a bad idea.’

“It’s a bad idea because we are in our national action plan phase 3. If you’re implementing a plan, it’s not gonna work. Brazil changed their health minister 4 times last year. Where are they now? They’re actually the second most affected country globally in this pandemic,” he said.

He stressed that changing or terminating the IATF-MEID mid-way will not ensure an effective replacement. 

“Changing the driver or a pilot of a plane while it’s mid-air might not be a good idea because you don’t know how the replacement will do better. So, I’ll continue with the current situation and reassess after. That’s how we do it in emergency situation,” Herbosa said.

After the anniversary of the first lockdown in the Philippines, the country is experiencing another surge in COVID-19 infections – primarily condensed in the National Capital Region.

The Metropolitan Manila area, including the cities of Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, and Cavite, has been put under a general community quarantine ‘bubble’ after the release of a new memorandum from the IATF-MEID on March 21

According to the Department of Health (DOH) tally for March 25, there’s been an increase of 8,773 COVID-19 infections today, which sees total active cases in the country climb to 99,891.

You can watch Dr. Ted Herbosa’s full interview below. 

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