Philippines' COVID-19 cases climb past 2,000 mark

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2020 04:50 PM | Updated as of Mar 31 2020 08:09 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the Philippines soared to 2,084, the health department said Tuesday, as the country entered the third week of its Luzon-wide lockdown in a bid to contain the virus.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 538 new cases were recorded, the largest single-day spike which she attributes to the increased testing capacity of the country, the continuing contact tracing of those who are possibly infected, and the inclusion of health care workers in the vulnerable population who need to be tested.

"Ito po ay dulot ng mas marami pang paglabas ng test results mula sa (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) at mga subnational laboratories na operational na po mula nung isang linggo... Simula last week, may 60 pang ibang laboratoryo na nakakatulong sa pagsasagawa ng tests," Vergeire said.

(This is due to the release of more test results from RITM and subnational laboratories that have been operational since last week... Since last week, 60 more labs have been helping in conducting tests.)

She also reported 10 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 88.

Eight of them -- 7 men and 1 woman -- are senior citizens with such underlying conditions as hypertension and diabetes.

Four of the new fatalities are from Quezon City, 2 are from Rizal province, and there were one each from Parañaque City, Manila, Caloocan City and San Juan City.

A total of 49 patients have so far recovered from the infectious disease that originated from China late last year, as seven more patients were added in the list.

Among the new recoveries is a 68-year-old Filipino-American man from Mandaluyong City who had traveled to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Israel and Egypt.

Another patient who recovered -- a 39-year-old man from Abra -- also had a travel history in the UAE and Thailand.

The five others, who were from Rizal province, Quezon City, Makati City and Pasig, had no travel history.

Vergeire urged the public to continue staying at home, practice physical distancing, and frequently wash their hands as their contribution in curbing the coronavirus pandemic.

FILIPINOS ABROAD WITH COVID-19

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs said cases of Filipinos abroad with COVID-19 have reached 368. A total of 242 of them are under treatment, while 117 others have recovered.

The remaining 9 succumbed to the disease.

Countries around the globe have imposed strict travel measures to arrest the spread of COVID-19, which has infected more than 693,000 worldwide, with over 33,000 deaths as of March 30, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).