The Department of Health (DOH) recorded 7,999 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday, March 20, the Philippines’ highest single-day tally, so far.
This is the second highest number of new cases in a single day, after the country logged 7,103 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, March 19.
This brings the country’s total confirmed cases to 656,056. Of these cases, 12.3% or 80,462 cases are active or are currently sick – the second highest after August 15, 2020, when the country recorded 83,109 active cases.
The daily positivity rate, or the percentage of all COVID-19 tests performed that are actually positive, reached 14.6%.
The DOH also reported 30 new deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 12,930. Meanwhile, recoveries are up by 597, raising the total to 562,484.
On Saturday, the DOH also reported that the country has 114 new cases of COVID-19 variants, mostly detected in Metro Manila. Of these new cases, 46 are additional B117 or UK variant cases, 62 are B1351 or South African variant cases, and 6 are new cases of the P3 variant found in the Philippines.
On Friday, March 19, the government reimposed stricter limitations on certain economic activities and establishments in Metro Manila and other areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) to curb the spread of the virus.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s office has also ordered a reduction in on-site capacity for government offices in Metro Manila and other areas under GCQ as a response to the new surge in COVID-19 cases. These measures will last until April 4.
Health workers’ benefits
Meanwhile, the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) called on the DOH to conduct a “thorough and in-depth investigation” into the case of a health worker who died of COVID-19 on March 15 even after getting vaccinated. The DOH earlier said that based on its investigation, “the cause of the death was caused by COVID-19 itself, not by the COVID-19 vaccine” but did not give other details.
AHW secretary general Benjamin Santos said that the health worker should be given a P1-million indemnity.
Based on AHW data, as of March 18, the DOH recorded 15,346 health workers who tested positive for COVID-19. Among them, 82 died and 376 are active cases.
AHW said among the recent deaths among health workers are union leader Jaime “James” Agub, health health worker at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), who died if COVID-19 on March 18. “He was one of those who called for adequate protection, fair benefits and safety of all health workers in the midst of the pandemic,” AHW said.
AHW president Robert Mendoza reiterated health workers’ call for the provision of death benefits to co-workers who died of COVID-19 “and indemnification to health workers who die due to severe adverse effects following immunization, worth P1-million.” They also urge the continued implementation of their benefits as provided under the Bayanihan Law “until the pandemic is over.” – Rappler.com