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New COVID-19 cases dip, as Malacanang maintains gov't is doing 'very well'

By Bim Santos Published Mar 23, 2021 4:47 pm Updated Mar 23, 2021 4:54 pm

The number of new COVID-19 infections fell for the first time in recent days, with the palace maintaining that blaming the government for the recent surge is “unfair.”

The Department of Health (DOH) reported that the number of additional COVID-19 infections was 5,867, the first time that new infections fell below 7,000 since March 19. The level, however, remains high since new cases averaged south of 2,000 this year before it picked up rapidly this month.

Total cases now stand at 677,653.

The new cases bring the country’s positivity rate, or the percentage of those who tested positive out of the total tested, to 12.7%, down from 14.9% yesterday.

There were also 620 recoveries and 20 deaths.

In a press briefing today before the DOH announcement, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government should not be blamed for the recent surge in new COVID-19 infections.

Roque said that the increase in recent cases was primarily brought about by the presence of new COVID-19 variants in the country.

“Unfair na sabihin na ang pagtaas na ito ay dahil sa (government) incompetence. Wala po tayong magagawa dahil talagang may anyo ang viruses na nagmu-mutate,” Roque said, noting that other countries in the world has similarly been experiencing a spike in infections recently.

"Comparative to the rest of the world, we have done very well," Roque said.

In an interview today over CNN Philippines, Guido David of the OCTA Research Group said it may take at least two weeks for the spike in cases to subside.

“That could be like a best case scenario, it could also take us four weeks to start having a decrease in cases based on history,” said David.

Meanwhile, National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez said it may take until December for the economy to fully reopen.

“We can open up maybe December. Ang target natin is we will have a better Christmas this year,” Galvez said in today’s briefing.

Thumb and banner photo AFP/Ted Aljibe