Philippines' COVID-19 tally rises to 12,305 as lockdown eases

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2020 04:17 PM | Updated as of May 16 2020 05:36 PM

Health workers conduct rapid testing on local barangay officials in Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City on May 7, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE)--The Philippines on Saturday documented 214 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the overall tally from the pandemic to 12,305, as the government gradually eased lockdown restrictions in the country.

The respiratory illness, caused by the novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2, has claimed another 11 lives, the Department of Health (DOH) said in its latest bulletin.

The nationwide death toll now stands at 817.

Though infections and deaths continued, there were also bright spots in the country’s battle against COVID-19 as the Philippines had seen more recoveries.

Some 101 more individuals have recovered from COVID-19, raising the total recoveries to 2,561, according to official data.

Of the country's 108 million population, nearly 185,000 have so far been tested for COVID-19.

Metro Manila, epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, accounts for 69 percent or 147 of the new COVID-19 infections. The remaining 31 percent or 67 new cases are from the other regions.

Meanwhile, the country recorded more than 100 recoveries for a second consecutive day while the 11 new deaths make for the lowest figure in 5 days since the 7 fatalities reported on May 11.

Amid clamor for mass testing, the Philippines can now run more than 9,000 daily tests as there are now 30 COVID-19 testing labs.

The latest figures came as the government on Saturday started easing lockdown rules, enforced for 2 months in Luzon and other high-risk areas, to stop the spread of the virus.

Metro Manila, Laguna, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales and Angeles City shifted to a modified lockdown, where government sought to jumpstart the economy ravaged by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the cities of Cebu and Mandaue remain under enhanced community quarantine, while other parts of the country are now under general community quarantine, with loosened restrictions. 

Since surfacing in China late last year, COVID-19 has sickened 4.5 million people and killed more than 300,000 others worldwide as experts worked at unprecedented speed to develop a vaccine against the disease.