Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Friday downplayed the Philippines’ 122,754 Covid-19 cases— the highest in Southeast Asia— saying the number was inflated by the country’s intensified testing and contact tracing efforts.

On Thursday, the country surpassed Indonesia for having the most infections in the region. But Roque said relying on the case tally alone, without taking into consideration “scientific proof,” led to “inconclusive” reports.

“Dahil mas maigting ang ating pagte-test, hindi po totoo na mas marami tayong kaso kaysa Indonesia,” Roque said during a virtual briefing.

He asserted there was no need to panic over the recent spike in Covid-19 cases, which had ballooned by 29,975 since Aug. 1.

“May mga nagsasabi na masama itong pigura dahil tayo na ang pinakamataas, hindi naman po gano’n. Ang ibig sabihin lang po nito ay alam na natin nasaan ang Covid-19,” Roque said.

Other countries like Indonesia, he claimed, have had their case tallies plateau due to lack of testing and tracing.

Roque pointed out that the Philippines conducted an average of 28,938 tests per day over the past week, almost double Indonesia’s 14,921 tests per day during the same period.

The country’s tests conducted relative to population was at 1.5 percent, while Indonesia’s was at 0.34 percent.

“Hindi lang nalalaman ng mga Indonesian kung sinu-sino ang mga umiikot na meron nang sakit. At least, tayo, alam natin kung sino sila,” Roque said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro