COVID-19 cases in Philippines top 600,000 as infections in NCR remain high

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2021 04:06 PM | Updated as of Mar 09 2021 08:39 PM

COVID-19 cases in Philippines top 600,000 as infections in NCR remain high 1
San Juan City launches its vaccination program, with medical frontliners from the San Juan Medical Center first getting inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine at the Filoil Flying V Arena on March 6, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Coronavirus infections in the Philippines climbed to 600,428 on Tuesday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,668 new COVID-19 cases.

During the past few days, the country was logging more than 3,000 daily cases.

Tuesday's tally did not include data from 8 laboratories that failed to submit results on time. 

The DOH also announced 7 new COVID-related deaths or a total of 12,528 fatalities, accounting for 2.09 percent of the cumulative total cases.

There are also 171 new recovered patients or a total of 546,078 recoveries.

Active cases in the country stood at 41,822, or 7 percent of the cumulative total.

Of those currently battling the disease, 91.6% have mild symptoms, 3.9% are asymptomatic, 1.8% are in critical condition, 1.9% have severe symptoms, and 0.8% have moderate symptoms.

A total of 3 cases, all tagged as recovered, were removed from the official tally for being duplicate entries.

There were also 2 cases tagged as recovered that turned out to be deaths.

The increase in cases in the country has been mainly driven by a spike in infections in the National Capital Region and other areas such cities in Cebu.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday said the surge is not actually considered a second wave since the Philippines never really flattened its cases. The international body called it “another spike in the ongoing wave.”

The WHO said that while more transmissible variants have been detected in the Philippines, their number is small compared to the total.

The DOH has repeatedly said that the increase in cases is due to the non-compliance in health protocols, aggravated by the variants. But the WHO also mentioned the need for quicker and more unified local government response. 

A survey by the OCTA Research Group showed that while majority of Filipinos wear face masks, only 67% said they were able to practice physical distancing. This was higher at 82% in Metro Manila.

The OCTA Group recently estimated that new cases in the country might reach 5,000 to 6,000 per day, with 2,000 up to 3,000 of those coming from Metro Manila.

The group called for local governments to further intensify COVID-response efforts, which includes localized lockdowns, expanded testing and contact tracing.

This month marks one year since Metro Manila and other parts of the country were placed under community quarantine to curb the spread of the disease.

The country is on Week 2 of its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, using products from Sinovac and AstraZeneca.

The Philippines' first COVID-19 case was confirmed on Jan. 30 last year in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.

There are almost 48.2 million people currently infected with COVID-19 worldwide. Since the start of the pandemic, almost 117.2 million people have contracted the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, 2.6 million have died and 66.4 million have recovered.

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