MANILA, Philippines – The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines rose to 13,434 on Thursday, May 21, as the country reported 213 new cases.
Deaths due to the virus also rose, with 4 new fatalities, according to the Department of Health’s regular 4 pm report. The total death toll is now at 846.
More coronavirus patients have recovered, with additional 68 recoveries bringing the total number to 3,000.
The number of new cases shows a continued rise in the total confirmed cases nationwide but a consistency in a pattern of between 100 to 300 daily additional cases.
This is compared to the highest daily peak of 538 on March 31, according to DOH data.
The new figures come amid confusing statements by government officials on whether the country is experiencing a first or second wave of the pandemic.
Malacañang insisted the country is still on the first wave, contrary to claims by experts and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III himself that the country is in the second wave.
Easing of lockdown amid low testing capacity
The country entered into an eased form of lockdown on May 16 despite having a testing capacity of 5,000 to 11,000 a day. The country has so far tested less than 200,000 people or less than 0.2% of the population.
The beginning of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), a more relaxed lockdown, in places like Metro Manila and Laguna, saw people hit the malls leading officials to warn Filipinos against complacency.
The government has given assurances that it is building up the country’s testing capacity, saying it now has 39 labs accredited to process coronavirus tests, 4 mega-swabbing centers, and 23 coronavirus referral hospitals.
The government aims to ramp up testing to 50,000 tests in July in order to reach a target of testing 2% of the population. For Metro Manila, the region hit hardest by the pandemic, the government goal is to test 10% of its population of 13 million. – Rappler.com