COVID-19 cases in Philippines near 170,000-mark

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2020 04:01 PM | Updated as of Aug 19 2020 02:53 AM

MANILA — The Philippines' health department on Tuesday reported 4,836 additional COVID-19 cases, raising the country's total coronavirus infections to 169,213.

This following the government’s decision to place Metro Manila and its nearby provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna back to the more lenient general community quarantine from Aug. 19 until Aug. 31.

Tuesday's additional COVID-19 cases, which were based on the reports of only 84 out of 105 accredited testing laboratories, is the 6th highest since the start of the pandemic.

More than half of the additional cases are from the National Capital Region (2,959 cases), while the rest are from Laguna (321), Cavite (220), Rizal (185) and Bulacan (145), according to the Department of Health (DOH).

The Philippines reported its first COVID-19 case on Jan. 30 in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.

As of Aug. 16, based on the DOH COVID-19 Situationer Report, more than 200,000 COVID-19 tests have turned out positive. Some may be repeat tests, but this also means the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is much higher than today's 169,213 cumulative total.

The continued spread of COVID-19 has led to doctors calling for a “timeout” or to revert to stricter measures, which the government partially granted on Aug. 4-18 for Metro Manila and its four neighboring provinces. The DOH has vowed to collaborate with medical societies and to come up with new strategies in the next two weeks.