(MNS Photo)

MANILA, Oct 2 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Health on Saturday maintained that the country’s COVID-19 response is “improving” despite Bloomberg’s recent report naming the Philippines as the “worst place to be” amid the pandemic.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire mentioned the improvements in the government’s vaccination program and its testing capacity.

In March this year, Vergeire said the government was only able to inoculate around 3,000 per day, which eventually increased up to 1 million vaccinations on some dates.

She likewise reiterated that the country has started its testing with only one laboratory capable of detecting COVID-19 cases but now, there are more than 260 laboratories across the Philippines.

The Philippines also conducts an average of 70,000 to 80,000 COVID-19 tests per day, Vergeire noted.

“So if we look at this kind of improvement, even though nandoon tayo sa mga ganoong (we are evaluated in those) studies, we think we are doing something and we are improving,” Vergeire said.

“Although we cannot say na maipapantay doon sa ibang bansa (we can reach the capacity of other countries), but all these countries are having these difficulties and challenges right now,” she added.

Vergeire said the government will “just continue to work” and maintain the kind of response that it is doing because they believe that they are “doing something good.”

“Napapababa natin ang kaso, napapataas ang bakunahan kahit hindi pa ganoon sa sinasabi nating percentage but we are getting there,” she said.

The Philippines hit the bottom of Bloomberg’s COVID-19 resilience rankings for September, in a steady slide down the study involving 53 countries and territories across the globe.

This, after the Philippines scored low on all four of Bloomberg’s metrics for reopening, being among the lowest in vaccine coverage, among the most stringent in lockdowns, among the lowest in flight capacity, and among the lowest in COVID-19 containment.

In an article accompanying the report, Bloomberg said the Philippines “faces a perfect storm” of the Delta variant coupled with “inadequate” testing and lockdowns that have disrupted the economy and people’s livelihoods.

Bloomberg pointed out that testing and contact tracing remain slow, with the small number of tests conducted resulting in a one-in-four or 27% positive result.

On Friday, the DOH has defended the government’s policy of risk-based screening for COVID-19 amid criticism that the country was still not testing enough.

Malacañang also downplayed the report, saying the Bloomberg report did not include all the countries in the world.

The Palace also blamed vaccine inequality between wealthy and developing countries for the Philippines’ dismal ranking in the said report.  (MNS)

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