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Palace refutes Duque, says Philippines still on first wave of COVID-19 infections

Malacañang on Thursday refuted the claim of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III that the Philippines is already experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

In a televised briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque insisted that the country has yet to move past the first wave though latest data pointed to gradual increase in the number of cases.

“Tayo po ngayon ay nasa first wave,” he said.

Roque, however, did not want to make an issue out of Duque’s pronouncement, saying it was “just on the terminology on when is the big wave coming.”

“Maliit na bagay lang po ito dahil hindi naman pinagtatalunan kung dapat iwasan ‘yung pagkakahawa ng mas maraming numero ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.

Asked if the differences in opinion among government officials should be a cause of concern, Roque replied  “Medyo sintunado lang siguro po ang isa pero okay naman po ang orchestra.”

The Palace official apologized to the public for the confusion as he admitted that Duque did not inform President Rodrigo Duterte about his interpretation regarding a second wave of infections.

“Nagpapaumanhin po kami kung kayo ay naalarma pero ang katunayan po ang siyensya naman po at importante ang pagbasa sa mga waves para alam natin ang gagawin na response," he said.

On Wednesday, Duque told a Senate inquiry on the COVID-19 situation that the country is already experiencing the second wave of COVID-19 cases, following the first wave in January that was composed of three Chinese nationals who contracted the disease.

But Roque said such a number was too small to be considered as the first wave.

“Yung tatlo namang ‘yun napakaliit po para maging isang wave din. Sabihin na lang natin hindi siya nagkamali, kundi nagkaroon ng kakaibang opinyon,” he said.

Roque added differences in interpretation are common.

“Alam nyo po ang medisina para ring mga abogado yan. Iisa lang ang batas namin, iba-iba ang interpretasyon. Ganyan din po siguro sa medisina. Iisa ang siyensiya, iisa ang datos, iba ang basa,” he said.

“Merong ibang bumasa na iyong tatlong kaso na mga Tsino na imported cases ng COVID ay first wave na. Pero sa tingin ko, kung titignan natin ang depinisyon ng kurbada, ‘yung wave na tinatawag, it is the number of cases over a period of time of community-acquired cases.”

Aside from Roque, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año disagreed with Duque’s pronouncement.

As of Wednesday, the Philippines had 13,221 COVID-19 cases, with 842 fatalities and 2,932 recoveries. —KBK/AOL, GMA News