MANILA — A government tally of coronavirus cases, one of the basis for locking down the Philippines' 100 million people, recently went up partly due to cases that were discovered during validation, the health department said Tuesday.
Authorities recently compared the agency's list of cases with the list of testing laboratories that shifted to an automated data system, said Health Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.
"Nakakita po tayo ng mga duplicates. Nakakita po tayo ng mga kaso na hindi pa po natin naitatala na and'yan pala sa data na iyan," she told DZMM.
"Tumaas po iyong mga numero dahil nagba-validate nang husto ngayon... With this automation, with this validation, we will be able to have real-time data soon," she added.
(We found duplicates, we found cases that were not yet included in our data. The number increased because we are thoroughly validating the cases.)
The tally now classifies cases as either "fresh" meaning test results were released in the last 3 days, or "late" in which results were from more than 3 days ago, said Verfeire.
The Philippines has confirmed 18,638 cases of of the novel coronavirus, with 960 deaths. Of the 552 cases added to the tally on Monday, around 78 percent or 433 are "late" while 119 are "fresh", said the health department.
After the nearly 80-lockdown of Metro Manila and other urban centers, the fatality rate from the virus has gone down to 1.6 percent. The time it takes for the cases to double also improved to 10 to 15 days, from 6 to 7 days, said Vergeire.
Ninety-three percent of patients have mild or no symptoms and less than 1 percent need hospital care, said the official.
"Ito po ay napakagandang indikasyon para sa atin, para masabi nating lumalaban naman po tayo dito sa COVID-19," she said.
(This is a very good indication for us to say that we are fighting COVID-19.)
"Simula't simula pa, naging transparent po kami, bukas po ang sistema namin sa mga tao... Hindi po namin ibebenipisyo sa DOH na magmanipula po kami at magtago po kami ng mga kaso," she added.
(Right from the start, we had been transparent, our system was open to the people. The DOH will not benefit from manipulating or hiding cases.)
It is still "too early" for the health department to recommend further relaxing or tightening the general community quarantine of Metro Manila, which started Monday and would be in place for 2 weeks, she said.