MANILA (UPDATE) - The coronavirus infections in the Philippines have reached 8,488 on Thursday, three months since the country reported its first case of the contagious disease that first emerged in China late last year.
The country’s health department logged 276 new cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), as well as 20 new recoveries and 10 new deaths.
The cumulative tally of recoveries rose to 1,043, while the total death toll is 568.
“Kasama po sa mga naitalang naka-recover ay ang mga pasyenteng naka-confine, at mga pasyenteng may positive mild at 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.)
For the previous day tally of 8,212, 67.9% are considered mild, 11.9% are asymptomatic, 0.6% are severe and 0.3% are critical. The remaining 12.5% have already recovered, while 6.8% have died.
Meanwhile, there are 2,938 probable COVID-19 cases and 14,338 suspect cases, as of Wednesday. Probable cases are those with inconclusive or unofficial test results, and suspect cases are those still waiting for tests or test results.
Also, as of Wednesday, 92,822 unique individuals have been tested for COVID-19 since the pandemic reached the country.
Of that number, 10,245 yielded positive results, while 82,438 tested negative. There are also 66 inconclusive test results and 73 invalid tests due to specimen quality.
Vergeire explained that the number of positive tests is usually higher than the confirmed number of cases because the former still need to go through validation.
A 38-year-old Chinese woman who came from China’s Wuhan City, the origin of the new strain of virus, was the Philippines’ first case of the disease. The tourist arrived in Manila on Jan. 21, and later experienced mild cough. She has since recovered and went home.
Her partner, however, a 44-year-old Chinese man who was labeled as the country’s second case, died on Feb. 1 after suffering from pneumonia. The man was the first COVID-19-related fatality in the Philippines, and outside of China.
A day after the country’s first case was reported on Jan. 30, the Philippines immediately imposed a ban on travelers from China’s Hubei province, where Wuhan City is located, in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.
Two days later, or on Feb. 2, the temporary travel restriction was expanded to cover the entire China, including Hong Kong and Macau. A partial ban was also imposed later on South Korea and Taiwan.
Although the measure was eventually relaxed or removed, travel in and out of the capital Manila and in other key cities of the country were subsequently prohibited when the government placed affected areas under quarantine to slow the spread of the disease.
A lockdown was first declared in Metro Manila on March 15, and was expanded to cover the entire Luzon starting two days later. Other areas in the Visayas and Mindanao also imposed similar measures.
On Thursday, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Metro Manila, Central Luzon (except Aurora), the Southern Tagalog region, Pangasinan, Benguet, Iloilo province, Iloilo City, Cebu province, Bacolod City and Davao City will continue to be under enhanced community quarantine until May 15.
Worldwide, some 3.2 million people have been infected with COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard. Of those, more than 980,000 people have recovered and almost 230,000 have died.
The disease has spread to more than 200 countries and territories, according to the World Health Organization.