3rd day with over 9,000 new cases in PH as COVID-19 tally tops 721,000

On the eve of the weeklong lockdown in the "NCR Plus" bubble, the Philippines logged over 9,000 new COVID-19 cases for the 3rd consecutive day.

The Department of Health (DOH) reported 9,475 new cases on Sunday, March 28, bringing the country's total caseload to 721,892.

Out of the total cases, 105,568 are active.

Sunday's figure follows the record 9,838 new cases on Friday, March 26, and 9,595 new cases on Saturday, March 27.

In March alone so far, at least 145,540 new cases have been reported, already making it the month with the highest number of new cases since the coronavirus pandemic started.

On Sunday, the DOH also reported 11 new deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 13,170.

Meanwhile, the recoveries are up by 22,000, most of which are part of the DOH's weekly time-based tagging of mild and asymptomatic cases as recoveries. This is the highest number in a day since September 20, 2020, when 20,021 recoveries were reported.

Recoveries from COVID-19 in the country now total 603,154.

Metro Manila and the provinces in the "NCR Plus" bubble – Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna – will be under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for a week, from Monday, March 29, to Easter Sunday, April 4. This is to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further.

For this period of ECQ, measures include a longer curfew – from 6 pm to 5 am – and stricter travel restrictions.

It is prohibited to hold mass gatherings of more than 10 people outside of residence and also indoor gatherings with persons outside of immediate family. "Staycations" or indoor vacations are banned, too.

The weeklong lockdown coincides with the country's Holy Week commemoration. The government has prohibited Holy Week gatherings for the entire duration of the ECQ.

Health workers on Saturday welcomed the new lockdown measures, but added that the Duterte administration should "future-proof" its response to the pandemic.

Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces were placed in the "NCR Plus" bubble on March 22. – Rappler.com