PH coronavirus cases climb to 6,710, death toll now at 446

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines now has 6,710 coronavirus cases as the Department of Health (DOH) reported 111 new cases on Wednesday, April 22.

Deaths due to COVID-19 also went up by 9, raising the death toll to 446.

Thirty-nine more patients recovered from the virus, bringing total recoveries to 693.

The DOH explained that there were fewer cases reported on Wednesday because the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine had to scale down its testing operations because 43 RITM personnel had contracted the virus.

Health experts have estimated that the number of cases in the country may reach anywhere between 26,000 and 75,000. (READ: Ex-DOH chief: Actual number of virus cases could reach 75,000 in 2 weeks)

Experts at the University of the Philippines (UP) said the Luzon-wide lockdown has helped slow down the rate of coronavirus infections in the country, but the health care system should be prepared for a "surge" in cases once the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted. 

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 country has reached its peak.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, April 20, met with health and disaster response experts to discuss the government’s next steps in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said Wednesday morning that the government was studying the possibility of allowing bus and train operations after April 30 but at partial capacity.

The President is expected to decide on the Luzon lockdown on April 23. Some officials have hinted that a modified lockdown may be imposed. – Rappler.com

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.

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