PH coronavirus cases climb to 2,311, death toll at 96


MANILA, Philippines – (3rd UPDATE) The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday, April 1, confirmed 227 new cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), bringing the total cases in the country to 2,311.

The DOH also reported that 8 more patients died due to COVID-19, raising the death toll in the country to 96.

One more patient recovered from the disease, bringing the total number of recoveries to 50. PH179 is a 59-year-old Filipino male from Taguig history who had no history of travel to any place with COVID-19 cases. He experienced symptoms on March 11, confirmed positive for coronavirus on March 16, and discharged on March 29 after he showed no more symptoms and tested negative twice.

The DOH disclosed details about the 8 COVID-19 patients who died, 3 of whom were confirmed positive for the disease days after their death. They had no history of travel or unknown history of travel, the DOH said.

Among those who recently passed away due to COVID-19 but not included in the latest DOH count – based on the details about the patients – was 57-year old Dr Leandro Resurreccion III, a pediatric transplant surgeon at Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and head of the Pediatric Surgery Division at the Philippine Children's Medical Center. He died on March 31. (READ: 'He will always be our hero': Son pays tribute to doctor who died of coronavirus)

The Philippines confirmed its first coronavirus case on January 30, a woman from Wuhan, China who later recovered from the disease. The country recorded its first two locally-transmitted cases on March 6, when it had only 5 confirmed cases.

The DOH earlier said that the public could expect a spike in the number of confirmed cases due to the country's expanded testing capacity. Health experts 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)

To contain the spread of the virus, President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila and the entire Luzon on lockdown until April 14 and April 12, respectively, but this could be lifted earlier or extended depending on the situation.

Many other areas outside Luzon have been placed on lockdown as well, to contain the spread of the virus. 

On Tuesday, March 31, the Inter-Agency Task Force on the coronavirus ordered its technical working group to finalize guidelines on the extension, expansion, modification, or lifting of the Luzon lockdown.

The President earlier signed the Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act which gave him 30 special powers to address the coronavirus pandemic. In implementation of a provision of the law, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) issued the guidelines for the tax and duty-free importation of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical emergency supplies.

On Wednesday morning, the DOH said that scientists at the University of the Philippines-Manila National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) are developing ventilators to help augment the local demand as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country. 

The global death toll breached 40,000 on Tuesday, March 31.


Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.