Philippines’ battle against COVID-19 gets ‘lifeline’ from China: Philippine health secretary

MANILA The Philippines on Sunday thanked China anew for its help, saying the crucial medical supplies donated by the Chinese government and the ideas shared by the Chinese experts have “provided a lifeline” to the Philippines’ efforts to step up the fight against the COVID-19.

Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque made the remarks at the seeing-off ceremony held for the 12-member team of Chinese experts, which arrived in Manila on April 5 to share firsthand experiences and best practices with Philippine health officials on how to properly manage the COVID-19 epidemic.

“The Chinese experts gave very many interesting inputs that are beneficial to the Philippines’ efforts to contain COVID-19,” Duque said.

Duque said the team tremendously helped the Philippines “at the different levels of our response from surveillance to isolation, detection through massive testing, how to do a more effective contact tracing to contain the spread of the virus.”

“I’d like to emphasize it’s a lifeline that the Chinese government has somehow provided the Philippines. Why do I say this? Because they donated a substantial amount of test kits. This is what keeps us afloat now,” Duque said.

He added the donation of test kits and personal protective equipment, ventilators “really has helped us a great deal.”

Duque said, “I have been reassured that the Chinese government will continue to give that lifeline to the Philippines in this time of the pandemic.”

According to Duque, one of the team’s most important recommendations was in the area of infection prevention and control.

“That is crucial, a great deal. China has really shown us the way of how to ensure the infection prevention and control measures such as the actual layout of areas in the hospitals, from the clean area to the contaminated area. It’s very methodical. It’s very systematic,” he added.

During the 14-day work in the Philippines, the Chinese anti-pandemic medical experts team visited around ten local hospitals and held talks with Filipino medical frontlines.

“Through the field visits, data analysis, and multi-party exchanges. We believe that the response measures taken by the Philippine government and DOH to this pandemic are positive, proactive and effective,” Dr. Weng Shangeng, head of the Chinese medical team, told Xinhua.

Weng said the Chinese medical experts believe that with the efforts of the Philippine government and the cooperation of the Filipino people, the Philippines will surely achieve a victory in fighting this pandemic.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, for his part, said at the same scene that the Philippines is “very grateful” to China for its help.

“We found a lot of good use for the things they have taught us. You cannot buy expertise, you cannot buy experience. And this is what we benefited from this visit,” Locsin said in a separate interview. “We hope for more visits.”

As of Sunday, the Department of Health said it has tested more than 52,000 individuals. The Philippines now has 6,259 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 409 deaths and 572 recoveries. 

Source: China – ASEAN Business Council