343 new coronavirus cases in PH, bringing total to 1,418

The Department of Health (DOH) recorded 343 new cases of the coronavirus in the Philippines on Sunday, March 29, the biggest single-day rise so far.

This brings the total number of cases in the country to 1,418.

The number of patients who died due to the virus also rose to 71, with 3 new fatalities added to the toll.

Meanwhile, 7 more patients recovered from the disease, bringing the number to 42.

The new cases on Sunday surpassed the 272 cases that the DOH reported on Saturday, March 28, as the biggest single-day rise in the number of cases in the country.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire continued to attribute the rise in cases to the government's improved testing capacities.

She also urged the public to continue cooperating with the government.

"Nakikiusap po ako muli sa lahat: tayo po ay magtulungan para masugpo natin ang COVID-19 sa lalong madaling panahon, at 'di na madagdagan pa ang bilang ng mga nagkakasakit," Vergeire said.

(I am again appealing to everyone: let us work together to defeat COVID-19 as soon as possible, so that the number of those getting sick would not increase anymore.)

To stem the spread of the virus, President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of public health emergency and a state of calamity in the country, and placed Metro Manila and Luzon under "enhanced community quarantine" or lockdown.

The lockdown in Luzon will last until April 12, and in Metro Manila until April 14, but it could be lifted earlier or extended depending on the situation.

Congress also granted Duterte special powers to respond to the outbreak through Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act– Rappler.com