Philippines' Duterte says government prevented 1.3-3.5 million coronavirus cases

(Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said his government’s intervention policy after the country’s first domestic transmissions of the coronavirus in March prevented as many as 1.3 million to 3.5 million infections.

Speaking during his annual address to the nation, Duterte said the country’s lockdown, which was one of the world’s longest and strictest, had kept infections in check but acknowledged the government was slow in getting its COVID-19 testing programme moving.

“To me, even if the numbers were much lower, it would still be and would have been worth the sacrifice we made. Life first before everything,” he said, adding “we initially encountered difficulties ramping up our testing capacity.”

The Philippines has recorded 82,040 infections and 1,945 deaths.

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