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Philippine coronavirus cases near 150,000

The Philippines reported 4,002 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, August 13, bringing the total tally to 147,526.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), 83% of the new cases occurred within the last 14 days. The period includes the first week of the new lockdown of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

In these two weeks, Metro Manila continued to report the most number of new cases, 2,077. This represents more than half, 63%, of the new cases for the past 14 days.

Region IV-A, Calabarzon, reported 609 or 18% of these cases while Region III reported 115 or 3%.

The death count has also grown. The DOH announced 23 new confirmed deaths. A little less than half the deaths, 10 or 43%, were of Metro Manila cases.

There are currently 74,713 active COVID-19 cases in the country.

Pressure on hospitals

The continued rise in coronavirus infections is putting more pressure on the country's healthcare system.

In Metro Manila, epicenter of the Philippine outbreak, COVID-19 ward beds are now 82% occupied. Meanwhile, 75% of isolation beds are occupied.

ICU beds, which are reserved for severe or critical cases, are 75% occupied. Almost half of the megacity's ventilators, 46%, also used for extreme cases of COVID-19 infection, are in use.

The August 4-18 return to lockdown for Metro Manila and the 4 Luzon provinces is supposed to give the hospitals there some breathing space and time for the national government to recalibrate its pandemic response.

But health workers have said the two-week modified enhanced community quarantine is not enough.

President Rodrigo Duterte is set to announce the new quarantine classifications for Metro Manila and the Luzon provinces on Monday, August 17.

But Malacañang said it would be "highly unlikely" that the MECQ would be extended since the Duterte administration said it lacked funds to assist affected workers and poor households.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque also said Metro Manila was loosing P18 billion each day under MECQ, an indication of the lockdown's great blow to the economy. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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