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MANILA, Philippines – The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines increased to 3,094 as the Department of Health (DOH) reported 76 new cases on Saturday, April 4.
The DOH said 8 more patients died, bringing the coronavirus death toll in the country to 144.
Five more patients recovered from the illness, raising the total number of recoveries to 57 as of Saturday.
The government’s National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19, chaired by Chief Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr , said that beginning April 14, there will be “massive” testing of persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs) for the coronavirus.
Galvez said the government is looking to convert large-capacity stadiums and convention halls into quarantine facilities and isolate them there to help contain the spread of the disease. (READ: LIST: National coronavirus quarantine centers)
Beginning Saturday, locally-made test kits developed by the University of the Philippines-Manila National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) would be ready for mass use. The UP test kits can accommodate up to 120,000 tests and are capable of fast detection of coronavirus in samples taken from patients. The results can be ready in two hours.
Health experts have estimated that the number of cases in the country may reach anywhere between 26,000 to 75,000. (READ: Ex-DOH chief: Actual number of virus cases could reach 75,000 in 2 weeks)
As of posting, the lockdown in Metro Manila and Luzon will last until April 14 and April 12, respectively. The Inter-Agency Task Force on the coronavirus outbreak has set guidelines on deciding whether to extend or lift the Luzon quarantine.
President Rodrigo Duterte was granted special powers to address the pandemic through Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, under which he has to report to Congress every Monday of the week for 3 months, unless extended by the legislative branch. – Rappler.com