In two days, Philippines records more than 41,000 new COVID-19 cases

Michelle Abad
In two days, Philippines records more than 41,000 new COVID-19 cases

FULL CAPACITY. The Southern Tagalog Regional Hospital in Bacoor, Cavite places a signage at its entrance on August 31, 2021, informing the public that the health facility reached full-bed capacity for COVID-19 patients.

Dennis Abrina/Rappler

Deaths in the Philippines due to COVID-19 breach 34,000

The Philippines recorded 20,741 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, September 4, raising the country’s total caseload to 2,061,084.

This marks two days in a row where new cases breached 20,000. On Friday, September 3, the recorded tally was 20,310 cases – leading to a sum of 41,051 new cases in just two days.

Saturday’s cases are also the second highest one-day tally in the pandemic so far – the highest was 22,366 on August 30.

Of the total confirmed cases, 157,646 are active cases, or those who are currently sick with COVID-19.

The Department of Health (DOH) also recorded 189 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 34,062. 

The DOH also tallied 21,962 new recoveries, raising the total recoveries in the country to 1,869,376. Recoveries recorded on Saturday are at their highest since April 24, when the tally was at 22,877.

The DOH reported a positivity rate of 28% out of 74,034 tests in its bulletin. These positive cases were added to the tally of confirmed cases only after further validation. This process helps ensure cases would not be recorded in duplicate, and that all test results had been submitted, explained the department.

The positivity rate of 28% means that almost one third of people tested turned out positive for the virus.

The DOH said all testing hubs were operational on Thursday, September 2, while five laboratories were not able to submit their data on time. The cases reflected in the bulletin were based on tests conducted two days ago.

Over the past weeks, the Philippines has been facing its worst COVID-19 surge so far as tallies hit record-highs and some areas reverted to stricter lockdowns. 

Despite this, the Philippine government on Saturday lifted inbound travel restrictions on 10 countries, including those with high COVID-19 incidence like India and Indonesia.

The government’s coronavirus task force has also approved granular lockdowns to be piloted in Metro Manila starting September 8, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said on Saturday. (READ: PH gov’t expected to enforce granular lockdowns – Lopez)

The less strict modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) imposed on virus epicenter Metro Manila, and surrounding provinces Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna is set to end on Tuesday, September 7.

In a Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that cases were still expected to rise until the end of September.

So, atin pong ini-expect na patuloy pa rin po iyong mga kasong tataas. Ang atin na lang pong hope ay iyong mga severe and critical, huwag na po sanang dumami pa,” said Vergeire.

(We expect that cases will continue to rise. Our only hope is that we see less severe and critical cases.)

The Philippines has also seen the penetration of the highly infectious Delta and Lambda COVID-19 variants. Still, just around 12.51% of the Philippine population had been fully vaccinated as of August 29.

In two days, Philippines records more than 41,000 new COVID-19 cases

Vergeire said that since these variants may have affected the efficacy rates of current vaccines, the Philippines needs to raise its target vaccinated population from 70% to 90%. The World Health Organization also found the Delta variant to be the dominant COVID-19 variant in the Philippines. 

More than 127,000 health workers are also awaiting their special risk allowance promised to them by the government. Vergeire said on Saturday that the budget department released P888 million to cover the SRA of about 97,560 health workers.

She said the health department expects to receive the Special Allotment Release Order for the funds on Monday, September 6.

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers overseas Filipinos, the rights of women and children, and local governments.