Philippines' total COVID-19 cases soar to 677,653 with 5,867 new cases

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2021 04:14 PM | Updated as of Mar 23 2021 07:43 PM

Philippines' total COVID-19 cases soar to 677,653 with 5,867 new cases 1
Members of the Sanitation Department disinfect the grounds of Manila Police District along UN Avenue in Manila on March 17, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines logged 5,867 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the second day of the implementation of reinforced quarantine measures that include a ban on non-essential travel and mass gatherings in the capital region and its neighboring provinces due to a surge in infections.

The day’s tally, which does not include data from 9 laboratories, raises the country's total number of cases to 677,653, of which 86,200 or 12.7 percent are active.

The number of active infections at present is the highest since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, according to the ABS-CBN data and research teams. It surpassed the 81,851 recorded on Aug. 15 last year, said the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group. 

Of those currently battling the disease, 95.4 percent are considered mild cases, 2.3 percent are asymptomatic, 0.49 percent are moderate, 0.9 percent are critical, and another 0.9 percent are severe, according to the DOH bulletin.

Many Metro Manila hospitals have reported full occupancy for COVID-19 cases, while medical frontliners already sought reinforcements due to their limited number.

The DOH bulletin showed that out of the 33,719 who were last tested for the disease, 15.4 percent were found positive.

On Monday, the country logged its record-high single-day tally of 8,019 new coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic.

According to the DOH bulletin, 69 percent of ICU beds allotted for COVID-19 patients are already occupied, while it is 68 percent for isolation beds, and 49 percent for ward beds.

Half of the country's mechanical ventilators are also being utilized already.

Meanwhile, the DOH logged 20 more COVID-related fatalities, bringing the death toll to 12,992. 

Total recoveries went up by 620 to 578,461.

A total of 6 duplicates were removed from the cumulative total, of which 1 case turned out to be a recovery. 

Eight cases initially tagged as as recoveries were also reclassified as deaths after DOH's final validation.

The OCTA Research Group warned last week that new daily cases of COVID-19 could reach up to 10,000 by the end of the month, half likely to be recorded in Metro Manila if the current trend continues.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a meeting Monday night with President Rodrigo Duterte that the spike in new infections is caused possibly by the presence of COVID-19 variants in the country, the increased mobility of people as a result of the gradual reopening of the economy, and the public's "token compliance" with minimum health standards. 

"Ako, nakikiusap sa atin pong mga kababayan na hangga’t sa maaari po, ang face mask and face shield and physical distancing eh halos lagpas 95 percent po ang proteksyon nito, at habang wala pa po tayong sapat na bakuna, hindi po natin puwedeng isantabi itong mga ito," Duque said.

(I am appealing to our fellow countrymen that if you can, while we don't have enough vaccines yet, let's not set aside the wearing of face mask and face shield and physical distancing because these offer more than 95 percent protection.)

The country's vaccine czar, Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., said Tuesday that 408,995 have already been vaccinated in the country since the COVID-19 inoculation drive kicked off last March 1. The government aims to vaccinate up to 70 million this year to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus.

On Monday, the government started placing the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under general community quarantine (GCQ) with additional restrictions until April 4, in a bid to halt the spike in new cases. 

The Philippines logged its first confirmed COVID-19 case on Jan. 30 last year in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged in late 2019.

Globally, more than 123.7 million cases have been confirmed, including over 2.7 million deaths.

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