MANILA - The Philippines' mortality rate for COVID-19 continues to decline, the Department of Health said Sunday as it clarified the recent increase of reported deaths was due to late reporting.
The Philippines reported 16 and 22 additional deaths on Friday and Saturday, respectively, the latter being the highest since May 12 when 25 fatalities were recorded.
Only 4 of 22 deaths reported Saturday died in June, according to DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
"Marami po ang nagtatanong, lumalala na ba ang sitwasyon? Base sa datos natin sa mga namatay, hindi," Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing.
(Many are asking if the situation is worsening. Based on our data of deaths, the answer is no.)
"Ang mga numerong ito ay ayon sa araw kung kailan sila na-report sa publiko at hindi sa araw kung kailan sila namatay."
(These numbers are based on when they were reported, not on the day they died.)
The Philippines' COVID-19 fatality rate of 4 percent is lower than the global average of 6 percent, according to Dr. John Wong, a member of the government's inter-agency task force's sub-technical group on data analytics.
"It peaked around maybe 1st week of April and since then has continued going down," he said.
"When you assign them to the actual date of deaths, we continue to have very low death rates. In fact, the median is just 9."
The death of COVID-19 patients has to be reported to the local government, the health department's regional office, and the agency's national office, where it is validated before it is reported, Wong said.
"Our reporting of deaths has actually improved. For example, from a high of about 22 days delay from date of death to reporting, right now it’s only about a 7-day delay," he said.
Vergeire urged the public to continue staying home, washing their hands, wearing face masks, and observing physical distancing to combat the virus which emerged late December in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
As of Saturday, the Philippines has recorded 25,392 cases of COVID-19, with 1,074 deaths and 5,706 recoveries.