For the first time since July 29, the Philippines reported a rise of less than 2,000 coronavirus cases in a day on Thursday, September 3.
The Department of Health said there were only 1,987 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, after a month full of days when the infections would soar past 4,000 or 5,000. The new case report is, however, based on tests done by only 91 laboratories out of 113 operational labs.
The last time the daily report of new cases was below 2,000 was on July 29 when 1,874 infections were confirmed. At the time, 83 out of 91 laboratories submitted reports.
The Thursday numbers bring the Philippine coronavirus tally to 228,403. The country still has the highest COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.
Of the new infections, 818 or 41% came from the capital, Metro Manila. Cavite, a nearby province, reported 153 cases, making it the second top source of new cases for the day.
Coming in 3rd was Laguna with 125 cases, then Negros Occidental in the Visayas with 122 cases, and Rizal with 78 cases.
Meanwhile, coronavirus deaths continue to rise with 65 new fatalities reported on Thursday. The death toll is now 3,688. Recoveries grew by 880 to 159,475.
The DOH said there are 65,240 active coronavirus cases in the country.
The lower-than-usual new daily case count comes after Malacañang pointed to a lowering of the COVID-19 reproduction number in Metro Manila, the outbreak's epicenter.
The reproduction number of 1.54 during the week of July 19 to 25 has gone down to 1.01 in the week of August 23 to 29.
Experts say the pandemic is considered manageable when the reproduction number is brought below 1. This would mean that a person infected with COVID-19 will infect less than one person.
A reproduction number of less than 1 would also have to be maintained for 30 days for the government to be able to say it has kept the outbreak at bay.
Save for Iligan City in Mindanao, most of the country is either on general community quarantine or modified genera community quarantine, where most businesses have resumed operations, public transportation has resumed, and mass gatherings allowed with certain restrictions.
Metro Manila is under general community quarantine again until September 30. Gyms and internet cafes have been allowed to open. Public transportation is up and running. Religious gatherings are permitted to occupy 10% of a venue's capacity. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.