COVID-19

PH logs over 4,000 COVID-19 cases for first time since September 2020

Bonz Magsambol
PH logs over 4,000 COVID-19 cases for first time since September 2020

PANDEMIC-HIT PH. The local government of Bacoor places the 'Circle of Life' marker on the sidewalk going to public market as a reminder of proper distancing amid rising cases of coronavirus.

Dennis Abrina/Rappler

The Philippines now has 611,618 COVID-19 cases – 52,012 are active, the highest since October 17, 2020

A year into the pandemic, the Philippines now has 611,618 COVID-19 cases after the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, March 12, reported 4,578 new infections.

The number of reported cases on Friday is the highest in a single day since September 14, 2020, when 4,699 cases were recorded.

Coronavirus deaths also continued to rise with 87 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 12,694. Recoveries grew by 272 to 546,912.

Of the total cases, 52,012 are active. This is the highest since October 17, 2020, when 52,423 active cases were reported.

Only 5 testing laboratories were not able to submit their data on time.

On March 7, Octa Research warned that if the surge is not managed, the Philippines may see 6,000 new coronavirus cases daily by March 31. 

Octa Research fellow Guido David told Rappler on Tuesday, March 9, that cases in virus epicenter Metro Manila are climbing faster than expected as “actual cases are now beating” their projections.

The Octa team said in its report on Friday that reproduction number (R) – the number of people that one COVID-19 positive case can infect – in virus epicenter Metro Manila is at 1.86.

Experts have said that the goal was to keep the reproduction number below 1 to contain virus transmission until a COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available.

In a virtual press briefing on Friday morning, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the Philippines is now “more prepared” to handle the public health crisis amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, citing an “improved” health system and experienced healthcare workers.

The spike in cases comes following the detection of more infectious variants of COVID-19 in the Philippines, such as the South Africa (B1351) and United Kingdom (B117) variants.

But Vergeire said the rise in cases “cannot be solely attributed” to the new variants. She said the “underlying cause” of why the country is experiencing a spike in cases is the public’s “non-compliance” with health protocols. 

However, an Octa Research survey found that 9 out of 10 Filipinos comply with mask-wearing and frequent handwashing. The survey was conducted January 26 to February 1, weeks before the current transmissions surge.

The government said Friday that local governments are responsible for tightening restrictions to respond to the spike in cases. Metro Manila mayors have agreed to enforce earlier curfew hours, from 10 pm to 5 am, in the region starting March 15, while some areas in the capital region were placed under localized lockdown. – Rappler.com

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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.