PH coronavirus cases now at 6,599, with deaths at 437
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) recorded 140 new coronavirus cases in the country, bringing the total number of cases to 6,599 as of 4 pm on Tuesday, April 21.
The DOH said 9 more people died of the disease, raising the death toll to 437.
Another 41 patients recovered, putting total recoveries so far at 654.
Cases continue to rise even as Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, and many other parts of the Philippines remain on lockdown. The lockdown of Luzon, including the capital region, is on its 6th week.
The lockdown was extended by over two weeks to April 30, after health experts and government officials said there was still not enough evidence that the outbreak in the Philippines has reached its peak.
Health experts earlier estimated that the number of cases in the country may reach anywhere between 26,000 and 75,000.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, April 20, consulted with top health policy experts on options for government action on the pandemic past April 30 – whether to extend, modify, partially, or totally lift the Luzon lockdown.
Disaster risk reduction expert Mahar Lagmay of the University of the Philippines said in a televised briefing on Tuesday that although prolonging the lockdown would almost certainly "flatten the curve" or slow down the virus' transmission rate, it has to be balanced with the necessity for economic activity to sustain people's daily needs.
Duterte has deferred deciding on the matter until after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases confers on Wednesday, April 22, after which they are set to make recommendations to the President.
Meanwhile, the country's capacity to conduct more coronavirus tests is growing, said IATF spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles earlier on Tuesday.
The Philippines has tested a total of 55,465 people for the coronavirus as of Tuesday, Nograles said in a televised briefing. The government aims to do 20,000 tests per day by April 27. – Rappler.com