ON 25 JANUARY 2020, a 39-year-old Chinese tourist showed symptoms of cough and sore throat and was admitted to the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. Five days later after tests, she was identified as the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the Philippines.
“Isang taon na ang Covid dito sa Pinas. At sa ulat ng DOH, mahigit 2,000 bagong kaso ng Covid ang naitala noong Sabado, first year anniversary ng kauna-unahang Covid sa bansa,” Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said.
“At ayon sa isang think-tank, isa ang Pilipinas sa pinakakulelat sa tamang pagtugon sa pandemya,” he added.
Covid sickened 2,103 more people in the Philippines, increasing the total virus infections to 525,618 as of Sunday, according to the Department of Health.
On the other hand, the Sydney-based Lowy Institute scored the Philippines poor in its anti-Covid response, ranking 79th out of 98 countries. It based its scores on confirmed cases per million people, confirmed deaths per million people, confirmed cases as a proportion of tests, and tests per thousand people.
Lowy excluded China, where the first cases were identified in December 2019, from its report due to lack of publicly available data.
Pangilinan, who was among the first to call for a preemptive ban of travelers from China in 2020, said this poor performance on Covid control and management has severely affected the economy.
“Ang bagsak nating ekonomiya ang resulta ng malabo at magulong pagtugon sa Covid,” he said.
In its analysis, Lowy said the factors that made for the best performers were smaller populations, cohesive societies, and capable institutions.
“Sa mga kapitbahay natin, Taiwan at Vietnam ang pinakamahuhusay sa paglaban sa Covid. Hindi sila naghintay ng bakuna, maagap sila sa pagsugpo sa sakit,” Pangilinan said.
“Sa Taiwan halimbawa wala pang 1,000 ang naitalang Covid, at mabibilang sa mga daliri sa dalawang kamay ang namatay. Dapat gayahin natin ang pagkasigasig nila,” he added.
As of yesterday, January 30, Taiwan has reported 909 Covid cases and eight Covid deaths. Of its Covid cases, 795 have been classified as imported.
The Philippines has enforced the longest lockdown, shutting down businesses, contracting the economy, and worsening unemployment and hunger.
At the same time, the Philippines’ Covid-19 pandemic debt shot past P10 trillion as of October 2020 and is expected to continue to rise as the pandemic remains uncontrolled.
“Ang pandemya ay problema na rin ng kalusugan ng ating ekonomiya. Gusto na nating makabangon,” Pangilinan said.