MANILA — The number of COVID-19 patients in the Philippines who have recovered has breached the 700-mark as the countrywide tally of infections climbed to almost 7,000 on Thursday.
The Department of Health announced 29 new recoveries, raising the total to 722.
“Kasama po sa naitalang naka-recover ay ang mga pasyenteng naka-confine at mga pasyenteng may mga positive mild and positive asymptomatic cases na naka-recover mula sa kanilang self-isolation at home quarantine,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing.
(Included in the tally of recoveries are patients who were confined and patients who were positive but were considered mild and asymptomatic cases and have recovered from their self-isolation and home quarantine.)
With 271 new COVID-19 cases, the country's cumulative total stood at 6,981, the agency said.
There are 16 new COVID-19-related fatalities, bringing the total death toll to 462.
Of the 271 new cases, 142 or 52 percent are from Cebu. On Wednesday, Cebu City reported its highest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases, most of them from the Cebu City Jail.
Vergeire also explained that the DOH uses data from various sources, including those from local government units. She said this is why some LGUs may have more updated numbers and why there are delays in the forwarding of cases from the ground to the DOH.
The number of new cases reported on Thursday is the highest in a single day since April 14, according to ABS-CBN Data Analytics.
The country reported its first case of the disease on Jan. 30 in a Chinese woman who came from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus that causes COVID-19 is believed to have originated.
Before the latest bulletin, officials have been saying there were indications the Philippines was about to flatten the curve as the increase in new cases seemed to be slowing down.
However, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine also had to scale down its testing operations after more than 40 of its employees contracted the disease. The RITM is the national reference laboratory of emerging diseases and the laboratory with the biggest COVID-19 testing capacity.
Worldwide, some 2.6 million people have contracted COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, more than 700,000 have recovered and more than 180,000 have died.